Category Archives: Impossible Takes a Little Longer

Researching some more urban fantasy

HEROINE WORSHIP: Heroine Complex #2 by Sarah Kuhn opens a few months after Heroine Complex with Annie undergoing a slow meltdown for lack of any evil to fight or any chance to show off her heroic prowess. When Nate proposes to Evie, Annie finally has a mission — become the most powerful, most awesome maid of honor San Francisco has ever seen! As usual her bull-in-a-china-shop approach causes problems, but not as many as a rising wave of bridezillas possessed by demonic energy.

Telling this one from Annie’s POV was a good decision. She’s a good character, conscious she’s been a failure as a best friend, determined to make up for it and struggling with her own insecurities and love life. The book does a good job of fleshing that out. I will agree with some reviews that her boyfriend Scott isn’t well developed but he’s no worse than many female love interests — he’s there to love Annie and give her a reality check or two. That said, I never buy characters who calmly and accurately diagnose their emotional issues in conversation and there was way too much of that.

In terms of research for Impossible Takes a Little Longer I think the main takeaway is that it wouldn’t hurt KC to be a little more intense about stuff. It adds to Heroine Worship and I think it’s doable for my book.

One difference is that there’s surprisingly little comics reference (surprising to me, anyway) for a superhero story set in the real world, though I think that’s generally true of the superhero novels I’ve read over the year. My protagonist’s way more comic-book nerdy. But Kuhn does throw in a Clark Kent reference at one point where the leads really need to mention him, so that’s good.

Where Kuhn’s book had a lot of rom-com elements, FAE OF FORTUNE: Seattle Paranormal Police Department Book One by John P. Logsdon and Eric Quinn Knowles feels like a mashup of Justice League of America with the old Police Academy series.Rather than a lone wolf like Harry Dresden, protagonist Savannah Sage has an entire team of paranormals in the Seattle PD to work with her. Like Police Academy they’re all screwups — Savannah being put in charge of them is a demotion — but of course by the end of the book they’ve proved they have the right stuff. The mashup didn’t work for me, though I can see why it might appeal to other readers (and apparently does, as there are multiple sequels and the series is part of a larger, multi-book mythos).

I can’t say I learned anything from this one other than if you’re going to have an exposition-heavy first chapter it’s got to be good, interesting exposition and this wasn’t. The story, involving a scheme by a corrupt Kingpin-type, is okay and the fight scenes are good, but the conversational scenes between fighting not so much. The killer teddy bear is cute, though, even if describing it as a form of golem feels all wrong to me.

#SFWApro. Covers by Jason Chan and Murphy Anderson (bottom), all rights remain with current holders.

Leave a comment

Filed under Impossible Takes a Little Longer, Is Our Writers Learning?, Reading, Writing

Contrary to “Macbeth,” it’s sometimes good to cry “Hold, enough!”

Which is a way of saying I need to take more breaks. Not the vacation kind, but during the day. It’s less eye-strain if I get up and away from the computer regularly, plus I have non-writing chores that need doing. But when I get caught up it’s easy to forget and only realize it when my brain’s fried and I still have writing to do. So next week, I’ll try setting a timer.

That said, this week went well. I finished the current draft of The Impossible Takes a Little Longer and I’m pleased with it. A long way from publishable but the story has taken on the right shape for what I want and the ending finally works for me. Though admittedly I cheated by having one big battle take place off-stage — I’d love to do that in the finished draft but I doubt I could pull it off. But we’ll see. Now I put it aside for a month, then review.

I rewrote my short story Mage’s Masquerade and it improved considerably. I need to build up the romance more but I think the relationship is on a solid foundation — Cecily shows she has both intelligence and a cool head — and I think I have the plot holes in the previous draft fixed.

I started rewriting another untitled story, an oddball take on Jekyll & Hyde set during the early 1980s. Then I got restless and started (as in at least a couple of paragraphs) for other Jekyll and Hyde versions. The trigger being viewing the 1931 and 1941 adaptations of the novel, which I’ll review in tomorrow’s post.

I’ve started researching Shopify to see about setting up an Internet store to sell some of my stuff directly. Not that I’m going to dump Amazon but they take a lot of the sale price — so why not explore alternatives? You will, obviously, hear when anything is for sale.

I also spent way too much time reviewing my performance for the month and my plans for next month. It’s a very easy way to avoid writing when my brain’s tired and it’s necessary work, so I gave in.

All in all, I should have been more focused, but I’m still pleased with what got done.

I got Shadows Reflected in Darkness back again but I also sold another book. Or maybe two, Amazon announces the sale well before details like what sold and how many become available. It’s annoying, given that if they know the sales took place, they should certainly be able to share the data.

#SFWApro. All rights to image remain with current holder.


Filed under Impossible Takes a Little Longer, Short Stories, Story Problems, Time management and goals, Writing

Doing my research: Heroine Complex

I read Sarah Kuhn’s Heroine Complex four years ago. I recently reread it as research for The Impossible Takes a Little Longer. Given that book is about a woman superhero, I thought reading a book about a woman superhero, written by a woman, might be productive. Plus there’s that criticism from the editor who rejected Southern Discomfort that I should read more urban fantasy. So off I went.

For those who haven’t read Kuhn’s book, it’s set in San Francisco several years after a demonic portal opened. The portal closed but demons keep popping up; Chinese American Annie, going by the name Aveda Jupiter, takes them down with TK-enhanced martial arts skills. Unlike most urban fantasies, this all happens publicly and Annie thrives on the spotlight.

By contrast Annie’s Japanese-American best friend Evie is shy, insecure and happy to stay out of the spotlight as Annie’s support person. She manages everything from Aveda Jupiter’s social calendar to keeping her kickass leather boots clean. And she never, ever thinks about her own pyrotic powers, which she keeps under wraps.

Then Annie gets injured. Evie has to pose as her for a celebrity event but when demons crash the party Evie uses her fire powers to save the day. Suddenly everyone’s over the moon about Aveda Jupiter’s new ability so obviously Evie has to keep up the masquerade until they can figure out some way to transfer them to Annie.

The first thing I noticed — which I was sort of aware of already — is that KC doesn’t think much about clothes. Evie’s quite detailed about what she and Annie, and others in the cast are wearing; clothes aren’t something I think much about so I go light on that stuff. Most women I know think about them more — and clothes can be a good scene-setting detail — so maybe this is something to work on. Sure, KC could be the kind of woman who doesn’t care much, but that feels like a cop-out (by contrast, going light on clothing detail in Southern Discomfort, even in women’s POV sections, felt perfectly natural).

Second, like a lot of urban fantasy there’s a lot of Tell rather than Show; given the book got published and led to several sequels, it confirms my feeling this writing rules is overrated. Evie tells a lot about her personal history with Annie, her experience as an Asian American, her relationships with the other characters and the history of the city’s demonic incursion.  It works for me except when the villain gives an interminable explanation of her evil plan at the climax. That’s good news, seeing as Impossible has plenty of telling: the world’s alternate history is weird and there’s a lot I need to get across.

Third, one of the things the editor criticized Southern Discomfort for was a lack of urgency and tension. I’ve seen How To writing advice books that warn against casual, chatty scenes because they lack tension and lose the audience — though my writing group’s sometimes told me I should have more scenes with less tension, to let readers catch their breath (I’ll be blogging more about this).

Heroine Complex isn’t big on tension. The demon-slaying opening is played for humor: the demons are possessed cupcakes, Annie’s worst moment is that her zit is caught on camera. Then we get lots of Tell about growing up Asian, which is some of my favorite stuff in the book. This makes me hope that the personal scenes between my KC and her friends aren’t going to kill reader interest, Then again, a lot of Evie’s scenes are tense or awkward which adds to the drama and the interest. KC’s in a much better place a lot of the time.

Plus Heroine Complex‘s urban fantasy aspect is really the B-plot. Evie is the A-plot, a woman miserable in her own skin, blooming into a happy, comfortable person and rebuilding her relationships with the other characters. The heart of my story is the fight against a mystery misogynist wrecking KC’s life so maybe personal stuff needs to be kept down?

Studying other writers’ books isn’t a magic formula for success. “Successful author got away with X, therefore I can do X in my book” does not follow. There are lots of factors that go into making a book successful; it’s quite possible I’ll get the mix wrong. Still, I think rereading the book was helpful.

#SFWApro. Cover art by Jason Chan, all rights remain with current holder.


1 Comment

Filed under Impossible Takes a Little Longer, Is Our Writers Learning?, Writing

A “disorder under heaven” week

A line of Mao Zedong I’ve occasionally quoted is that “there is disorder under heaven but the situation is excellent.” That sums up this week. It started off frustrating but turned out much more productive than the shakedown cruise of the first week in January.

Monday I had to deal with Plushie’s puking, plus help TYG out with some stuff. That sucked up much more time than expected and chopped up the day into small bursts of time where I couldn’t accomplish anything. Tuesday TYG and I had more stuff to take care of, plus I had my dental cleaning in the afternoon. Once again the day broke up into periods to small to build any focus.Still, I’m pleased with my work. I got another 4,000 words done on Let No Man Put Asunder, which is harder than I thought. After waffling in December, I’ve committed to keeping protagonists Paul and Mandy in the city of Blue Ivy (which I’ll probably rename) at least for the early part of the book. That means instead of having them on the run, alone, they’re having to deal with Mandy’s family, the city police department, plus the bad guys who are after them. All of that changes things up and my mind keeps suggesting more changes. Plutarch, a psionic boy from an alt.Greece is now Flavia, a Nubian slave from an alt.Rome, still psionic but also blind. She gets to keep Plutarch’s living-metal bodyguard, Talos, however.

I rewrote Paying the Ferryman and I think I’ve fixed the problems. I’m going to have my writing group beta-read the second half, however (it’s 8,000 words) to see if it holds up as well as I think, and what to do if it isn’t. I rewrote Bleeding Blue and I think that definitely works: I’ll wait until the end of the month, then make a final proof in hard copy.

The one where those missing two days hurt me most was Impossible Takes a Little Longer. I did get some work done on the book but nowhere near as much as I’d have liked.

On the downside, Adventures of the Red Leech came back from the Sherlock Holmes/Lovecraft anthology I submitted it to. I may send it out again, or save it for Magic in History, the historical fantasy collection of my own stories I plan to put out (needs a better name, though). More disappointingly, Gollancz sent back Southern Discomfort. I’m not shocked — a big publisher announces a window for unagented submissions, the competition’s bound to be tough — but it’s frustrating. I’ve hit almost all the specfic publishers who accept books without an agent and the remaining ones are currently closed to subs. Perhaps it’s time to self-publish again?

Over at Atomic Junk Shop I’ve published a late MLK Day piece and a look at the new generation of comics writers — Roy Thomas, Cary Bates, Denny O’Neil, Jim Shooter — who debuted at DC or Marvel in 1965 and ’66.

I’ll close with a look at Trixie and Snow Drop nuzzling. I wouldn’t say our cats and dogs are friends but they get along okay.#SFWApro. Cover by Gil Kane, all rights to images remain with current holders.

Leave a comment

Filed under Impossible Takes a Little Longer, Personal, Short Stories, Southern Discomfort, Story Problems, The Dog Ate My Homework, Time management and goals, Writing

A smoother cruise this week than last

I wrote a week ago that the first week of 2023 felt like a shakedown cruise. This week the ship seemed to stabilize. We still had a lot of distractions but the work went well despite that.

The big distractions came Tuesday. Snowdrop had peed on the couch the night TYG kept him indoors and she could still smell it. We had someone come in to clean the couch off, after which we and the dogs had to stay off it for several hours while it dried.

Unfortunately that resulted in me and the pups sitting on the other couch for most of the afternoon. It’s much harder to work on my computer around them — the couch arms are too high to rest the computer there for instance — so I wound up doing some research reading instead.

We also had someone come in to check out the chimney as well. It has some damage which make it unwise to use the fireplace so TYG wanted a price estimate on repairs. Suffice to say, repairs would cost more than we want to spend, given that we didn’t use the chimney much even when it was in good shape. However if either of us gets a big payday down the road we might reconsider.

Thursday I’d planned to run out to the library and pick up the new Elric book I’d reserved, otherwise the reservation would have expired. That turned into a much larger expedition as I also wound up getting Trixie’s prescription food from the vet, plus food shopping done, plus picking up a prescription. TYG is away this weekend at an alumni event out of town — she left mid-morning — so I’ll be sticking home with the dogs and not going out. That saves me having to crate Plushie — he gets up to mischief otherwise – or the slight possibility something happens to me while driving and then there’s no-one here for the dogs until Monday.

Anyway, that bulked up the trip until I had no focus left for work by the time I got home. Still, I did get quite a bit done this week:

I redrafted a story I last worked on a couple of years ago, before Undead Sexist Cliches, Aliens Are Here and Questionable Minds sucked up so much time. It’s a long way from good yet, but I see more potential in the tale of a ruthless, objectivist businessman and his mysterious nemesis. Currently untitled.

I got several thousand words further in Impossible Takes A Little Longer, getting a lot of Reveals out of the way before things move into the climax (Hitchcock recommended that, so nobody’s distracted from the action by waiting for exposition). I stopped when it became time to move against the bad guys because I’ve no idea what they’re going to do. Hopefully it’ll come to me when I resume.

My research reading involved a couple of urban fantasies I’ll be reviewing soon, Fae of Fortune by John P. Logsdon and Eric Quinn Knowles and rereading Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn. I prefer doing that kind of reading outside of writing hours but with so many to-do things distracting me, I compromised.

I got about 3,000 words further into Let No Man Put Asunder. I also read the first two or three thousand words to the writing group who gave it an enthusiastic thumbs up plus some feedback I’ll be discussing soon.

So go me! Let’s hope next week is as productive.

#SFWApro. Cover by Kemp Ward, all rights remain with current holder.

1 Comment

Filed under Impossible Takes a Little Longer, Personal, Reading, Short Stories, Story Problems, Time management and goals, Undead Sexist Cliches: The Book, Writing

I shall think of this week as a shakedown cruise for 2023

My work weeks often make me think of that phrase of Chairman Mao, “there is disorder under heaven but the situation is excellent.” This was a messy, disorganized week; I did get my hours of work in, but I wasn’t focusing as well as I should. By today, all I could manage was research reading. Even my pleasure reading slowed down, a sure sign my head is not in the game.

The problem may have been Monday night: TYG had an IT crisis to deal with which woke me up after barely a couple of hours’ sleep; when I went downstairs the cats wanted in and demanded attention, making it impossible to sleep, or to get some early work done. On the plus side, Snowdrop did something we’ve wanted for years, accepting a place in my lap.This is a big step for him, though I still had to keep the back door open to keep him happy. And I do wish it had been TYG’s lap because she loves Snowdrop so much. Still, it’s very cool. But not conducive to sleep.

Later in the week I had appointments (minor car repair), errands (pick up doggy drugs) and other matters to distract me. So maybe that’s all there was to it. Or perhaps it’s the return to the mean I keep blogging about: sooner or later, sheer chance dictates I’m going to have an off week. I had an above average month in December so perhaps this is a return to the mean. The two explanations are not incompatible of course. Either way, the week is done so hopefully I can rise back to bettter-than-average next week.

The biggest accomplishment of the week wast that I redrafted Bleeding Blue and I’m really pleased with it. I expanded on the scenes without padding, fixed several problems my writing group pointed out and much improved the climactic scene. I’m still not entirely satisfied with it so I’m putting the story aside for a week, then I can look at it with fresh eyes.

My next accomplishment was to collect the short stories for Magic In History — title is very tentative — which is a collection I hope to self-publish later this year. I also gathered all my Doc Savage posts with an eye to reworking them into a book, the same way I worked my James Bond posts into Sex for Dinner, Death for Breakfast.

I got some good work done in Impossible Takes a Little Longer, especially considering it’s new material rather than reworking my previous draft. I didn’t get as far as I would have if my focus had been stronger though. The same is true of Let No Man Put Asunder.

Oh, and Draft2Digital notified me I sold three books last month, ebook versions of Atlas Shagged, Questionable Minds and Undead Sexist Cliches. Thanks, unknown purchasers!

And now the weekend. I shall chill, re-energize (I hope) and rebound next week.

#SFWApro. All rights to images remain with current holders.



Filed under Impossible Takes a Little Longer, Short Stories, Time management and goals, Undead Sexist Cliches: The Book, Writing

Creative amidst the chaos — that seems an appropriate way to end the year

Which is to say that during 2022’s final fortnight (you may remember I didn’t do a week-in-review last week because of the power outage) I got some good work done but not as much work as I’d hoped. Simply too many distractions.

This week, for example, we had to pick up our car Monday (it was just a dead battery so nothing overly pricey) and drop off the rental car. As I’d canceled my blood-donation appointment Friday due to car complications, I went in Tuesday morning. Then in the afternoon I braved the mall traffic (it’s easy to forget lots of people are still off the week after Christmas) to visit the Apple store and figure out the problem with my phone. It’s been randomly opening apps or switching from one app to the other which is ultra-frustrating; fortunately it turned out to be a simple fix. The replacement glass I got from a repair store had come loose (“If I can look at where it meets the screen and see through to the pixel cells, there’s a problem.”) — though whether they did a half-assed job or I jarred it loose with a couple of subsequent drops (TYG told me I didn’t need a phone cover; she underestimated me) I know not.

That, of course, took up most of Tuesday afternoon so I was irrevocably behind the eight-ball in making my hours this week; the blood donation didn’t help either but I place I high priority on donating regularly. Wednesday and Thursday we took the dogs for long lunch walks which threw off my afternoon planning, but again being a good dog-parent is a priority. Today it was just a matter of “well I’m not going to get everything done, am I?” undercutting my commitment. Plus I woke late which I almost never do. Plus we have Lily and Tito over for the day and they always require extra attention. There’s Tito, from an earlier visit. And here’s Lily.But work still got done. I added several thousand words to the current draft of Impossible Takes a Little Longer. Much of it was reworked from an earlier draft but I moved on at the end into new stuff and it worked. However I reached one of those points where I simply don’t know what to do next and didn’t have the focus to tackle it, so I didn’t meet my quota (30,000 words) for December.

My rewrite of Paying the Ferryman was excruciatingly slow due to the distractions but the story improved considerably. I think it may have reached the point where I can show it to the writing group and benefit from feedback.

I finally drew up a list of my published books and short stories for TYG. While I doubt my intellectual property (e.g., Questionable Minds) will be hugely valuable for her if I pass first, I might be wrong.

I also redrafted Oh the Places You’ll Go! slightly based on editorial feedback and completed the revised draft of The Love That Moves the Sun. Both go out next month, assuming I can find markets.

There’s other stuff I’d hoped to get to but I think I can feel pleased with all that work. And I published several blog posts at Atomic Junkshop variously dealing with how to spend Christmas money, a great Teen Titans scene, the teenage crimefighter Tomboy and the disappointing end of a Silver Age story arc.

Happy New Year everyone! I wish all y’all a fabulous 2023.

#SFWApro. Book cover by Samantha Collins.

Leave a comment

Filed under Impossible Takes a Little Longer, Personal, Short Stories, The Dog Ate My Homework, Time management and goals, Writing

Cats! Insomnia! The car! But the work got done

First the good news: Snowdrop is coming in early mornings and sitting on the couch. He’s come up on the couch before, when Wisp was settled on her pillow, but he’s always been wary. Not any more.

Yep, he’s now cool with me giving him belly scritches, though sometimes I have to sit on the floor to preserve his personal space. I think this is a big advance in our relationship.

The bad news? He still freaks out if we close the door on him. That’s not so good when the temperature’s in the low thirties. I tolerate it as long as I can — an hour or so this morning — but eventually no. However he’s not panicking quite as fast as he did so just possibly we’re making progress there too.

The other bad news is that dealing with cats in the morning really throws my schedule off. As I’ve mentioned before, early morning’s the best time for exercise, a little reading over a cup of tea, and some yoga or stretching. The more fussing I do over the cats, the less time I have for any of that. I’ll always let them in — they are our cats now — so I don’t know there’s any solution beyond “suck it up.”My sleep-maintenance insomnia plays a role in this too. I had a couple of nights where I woke up around midnight. Normally I’d get up for a bit and go back to sleep or failing that, write and then nap during the day. Both nights, however, Snowdrop and Wisp detected someone was up and sat on the deck waiting … so I let them in and got much less done than normal.

And then this morning the battery failed when TYG went off on an errand. We called AAA, they came out, found the battery was fine, but the dashboard computer warned us something else was off. I made an appointment to deal with it next week, but the whole experience sucked up much more time than I wanted and threw me off my game the rest of the day.

Despite which, the week was really productive. I finished another draft of Paying the Ferryman; I still don’t have the problem part nailed down but I can feel I’m getting closer. I reread Love That Moves the Sun, an older short story, and it needs much less work than I thought to fix it. I also reread Oh the Places You’ll Go! with feedback from the last editor I sent it to in mind and I don’t think I agree with their diagnosis (no disrespect intended).

I read Bleeding Blue to the writer’s group and the feedback was much more positive than I expected. They did point out several problems and I rewrote and improved the story yesterday, based on their suggestions. The big action scene at the climax still needs the most work, though — it’s better, but still doesn’t work.

I got several thousand words done on The Impossible Takes a Little Longer, much of it by refitting some of the last draft into a new position in the book. It worked there, too. It’s now up to 54,000 words though I suspect it may come in a little short compared to what novels run these days.

Oh, and my Con-Tinual panel on favorite Christmas Carol versions is now live. It’ll be up on the Con-Tinual YouTube channel in a few days.

So yeah, pleased with my week. Have a great weekend everyone.

#SFWApro. Please credit me if you use my photos.


Leave a comment

Filed under Impossible Takes a Little Longer, Personal, Short Stories, Story Problems, Time management and goals, Writing

Let No Man Put Asunder: Finding the Sweet Spot

So last month I finished the first chapter of my rewrite of my second novel, Let No Man Put Asunder. I rewrote it once some 15-20 years back; I’d have rewritten it again by now except most of the manuscript is gone. I did get a couple of chapters beyond the cutoff, but somehow every attempt to progress further hit a mental dead end.

This version though is a radical break. My protagonists, Adrienne and Neil, were mostly in good shape when the bad guys kidnap them into another dimension. To their surprise, it turns out that a weekend of death and danger (the story moved pretty fast) also gave them things that were missing in their life. Fresh adventures would have lain in wait …

New protagonists Paul and Amanda aren’t in such great shape. Mandy has been de facto mother for her five siblings and caregiver for her terminally ill dad since she was fifteen — as we learn in the first chapter, Mom decided terminal illness wasn’t something she wanted to deal with and walked out. However it’s been twelve years and Mandy’s recovered from Mom’s betrayal (but has not forgiven her at all).

Paul is in much worse shape as his big blow came less than two years ago. His academically prominent parents pushed him to excel from elementary on. He’s had no social life, has no idea who he’d be if he didn’t have his nose buried in books all the time, so finally he told them, right before senior year, he was taking a year off after college. When he arrived back at school Paul discovered his folks hadn’t paid his tuition, had broken the lease on his apartment and drained the joint bank account they used to provide him with ready cash. But no problem, just take back your foolish decision, son, and everything gets back to normal!

He didn’t take it back.

The Adrienne/Neil version had a first chapter set here on Earth, then we were off into other, wilder dimensions. I’m not sure that’s the way I want to go. The town of Blue Ivy, where Mandy and Paul meet in 1976, feels like a good setting. It’s a grimy industrial town but it also has several colleges, with the usual college/townie conflicts. It seems a shame to just forget about it and go elsewhere, particularly in America’s bicentennial year (I don’t know if I’ll keep using that year but if I do, I should be able to make something of it).

The trouble is, I don’t want to go the urban fantasy route. I enjoy reading books where the normal world is just a shell hiding a reality full of magic but I don’t seem inclined to write them. Southern Discomfort is closer to intrusion fantasy: the normal world works much as we see it but something magical has intruded in, disrupting things. In Questionable Minds there’s no hiding: the world is full of psychic powers but they’re being wielded in plain sight.  In Atoms for Peace the mad science that’s made the world so different from our 1950s is also commonly known. In Impossible Takes a Little Longer, super-powers are the same way.

If I set Asunder on Earth, I want it feel like magic is an intruder, not a regular resident. That was doable in Southern Discomfort because the magic almost all stems from the elves Olwen, Aubric and Gwalchmai and it’s limited to one small town in Georgia. Asunder has a lot more magical people running around with much flashier powers. And the different characters — Mountebank, Grainge, Cordelia Winters and Hypatia, to name four — don’t fit into the same magical mythos. They didn’t have to in the original version and I see no need to change that. But it would, again, make an odd urban fantasy

So do I go urban fantasy anyway and find some way to make it work? Go back to dimensional jumping and kiss Blue Ivy goodbye? Maybe make Blue Ivy some kind of Hellmouth where, like Sunnydale, things are weirder than the rest of the world?

There’s also the practical point that I’d like my protagonists isolated, at least for the first few chapters. That’s harder to do in a setting where they know everyone.

Normally I’d plunge ahead and pants these questions as I go but the first chapter ends with Mandy and Paul falling through a magical gate of some kind. I need to know where they land.

Wish me luck!

#SFWApro. Cover by Samantha Collins, rights to the image are mine.

1 Comment

Filed under Atoms for Peace, Impossible Takes a Little Longer, Uncategorized

Metrics aren’t everything, but they help

So I wrapped up November with somewhere under 50 percent of my goals completed … I think.

One of the errors I keep making is that when things get hectic I stop tracking my progress. I don’t record how many hours I’ve spent on writing projects or whether I remembered to wipe the kitchen counters every day. So I don’t know if I achieved them or not. So I’m working to consistently report metrics at the end of the day, before walking the dog (afterwards I’m usually off the computer for too long). We’ll see how I do.

This week was uneven but overall productive. A large part of the unevenness is that my insomnia the past couple of months has been exceptionally consistent. Some of that may be the warm weather — even in a heated house, winter usually makes a difference — and some of it’s definitely psychological. When I wake up in the middle of the night, I psych myself out about “Well, if I try to get to sleep and don’t succeed I’ll have to take naps during the day so I should definitely get up and write because then I won’t need the time but then again I really need sleep …” That kind of chatter makes it impossible to get to sleep.So Wednesday became a waste. I was tired plus I had my second checkup of the year. Overall good, and a couple of things I was worried might be serious are just me getting older. My doctor is way more reliable than the Crime Surgeon on Bob Kane’s cover above.

Today was productive but choppy. I was sitting with the dogs most of the day and they were often barky, plus Wisp came in which meant having to keep three pets happy. I can write and pet Wisp in my lap but if Trixie gets on the couch too, she demands petting too and then I have no hands left to type. And yesterday I walked to a nearby dispensary to pick up Plushie’s meds. It’s close to a mile further away than I anticipated so that was more time lost. The exercise was good, however.

So what got done?

First, I finished a rewrite of Bleeding Blue on Monday. It’s much improved. This may be the next piece I read to my writers’ group as menstruation is important in the story and I need women’s feedback.

I reread Paying the Ferryman and I was dismayed how much the energy and tension drop once we move from New York to a fairy-tale setting. I spent most of my writing time today working to fix that but between naps and pets I didn’t get finished. It’s already improved, though, and shorter.

I wrote 4,000 words on Impossible Takes a Little Longer. The book’s definitely improving, though I still wonder about length.

And I started to think about what I want to do next year.

All totaled, I made my hours for the week.Over at Atomic Junkshop I looked at the time Iron Man deliberately killed his opponent, a drastic thing in the Silver Age. You can see in Gene Colan’s (under his Adam Austin synonym) panels above that Iron Man’s throwing the Black Knight (not the one from Eternals) off his flying horse to his death.

Over at ConTinual I participated in a panel on worldbuilding in small towns and one discussing my two new releases. They’re on FB but they’ll be on ConTinual’s YouTube channel soon.

And speaking of my new books, I sold some copies of Questionable Minds this week! That feels very cool.

And needless to say, our Christmas tree is up.#SFWApro. All rights to images remain with current holders.

1 Comment

Filed under Impossible Takes a Little Longer, Short Stories, Story Problems, The Dog Ate My Homework, Time management and goals, Writing