Oh, that this too too sullied blog post would melt…

Okay, once again I’m taking a week-long break between author’s notes, just to give those who are interested a brief update on my doings.  Next week, I will post the author’s note for The Death Sentence, the first story in my collection Welcome to Paradox City, (unless, for some unforeseen reason, I decide to write it about something else).

As you know, if you follow this blog, I’ve taken a short break from working on Unanimity, my upcoming horror novel, to complete the editing and rewriting of Hole for a Heart, an earlier version of which appeared here.  Like its predecessors, I for one welcome our new computer overlords, and Prometheus and Chiron, the story is benefiting greatly from the process, at least in my eyes.  Hopefully, anyone who ends up having read both versions will agree with me.*

It’s always nice when, upon rereading his or her own story, an author finds himself or herself excited and moved by that work, and this has been true in spades on Hole for a Heart.  I’ve experienced brilliant moments when, going through the rewrite/edits, I found myself getting mildly creeped out.  This is a good thing; it is a horror story, after all.  Of course, it helped that I was doing the work in the early morning, while it was still dark outside, and I was alone.  But still…obviously, I knew what was going to happen in the story, but still found myself at least mildly chilled.  It’s nice that the atmosphere I’d tried to create worked, at least on me.  Whether it will work similarly on other readers remains to be seen, but I have high hopes.

On another subject:  I’ve struggled to find the time to work on my non-fiction-related blog, “Iterations of Zero.”  I did write a brief post there earlier this week, detailing some puzzlement I have about the nature of gravitons, and how they might interact with an event horizon, because I felt compelled to get those thoughts out into the meme-pool, but it’s difficult for me to get all that I want to get done there.  I have three partially written articles languishing in my computer, as well as two full files in the memo app of my smart-phone, stuffed with ideas about which I want to write, issues I want to address, questions I want to raise.  When I say full, I mean it.  The files are as large as is allowed by the memo app…or at least the first one is, and the second is within a hair’s breadth of fullness.

By comparison, the file containing my story ideas (admittedly it’s not the only location for such recorded inspiration) is only one, nearly-full, memo file.**

The main reason that I have trouble getting IoZ as productive as I want it to be is time, that limiting factor on all things, so beautifully lamented by Andrew Marvell in To His Coy Mistress.  I work eleven out of every fourteen days, full time, and my commute is an hour to two hours in each direction.  This transit provides a wonderful opportunity to listen to podcasts and audio-books, but otherwise, those are unproductive hours.

Obviously, I can’t just write while I’m at work.  My boss is about as pleasant and understanding as it’s possible to be while owning and running a business, but his patience would be strained if I were to spend a significant amount of my work time doing things that had no relation to my job.  More pointedly, long before I would reach the threshold of annoying my boss, I would be curtailed by own conscience.  It’s simply not in my nature to be able to freeload while earning a paycheck, and I’m glad that it’s not.

So, my time is limited, and if sacrifices have to be made in my writing, I must regretfully choose to sacrifice the non-fiction, since fiction is my primary calling.  Of course, if enough people buy my books, I may make enough money to write full time, which would not break my heart.  If you’d like to see that happen, please feel free to buy them, and encourage others to do so as well!  ^_^

On yet another note, rewriting my short stories, and listening to audio books has re-ignited my desire to post my own audio recordings of the three short stories I’ve been working on recently.  There’s something special about a book being read by its author; at least there is for me.  I know it isn’t always workable for everyone, but I have a pretty decent reading voice, and I’m frequently told that I sound pleasant on the phone, so I’m not worried about my words grating on the listener’s ears.  Also, it’s just wonderful fun – for me – to read things out loud.  It always has been.  I’ll read books out loud to myself, if I’m enjoying them enough, especially when the dialogue is good, and it’s nice to think of sharing that enjoyment.  I don’t really foresee recording any of my novels, at least not in the immediate future, and definitely not just for posting on the blog.  That kind of work would require remuneration.

On yet another other note:  I don’t recall whether I’ve mentioned this here before, but in recent times I’ve had a real block on reading fiction, which is quite new for me.  Forget finding new stories to read; even stories that I love deeply have been unable to grip my attention, and I am one who reads and rereads his favorite books repeatedly, in true geek fashion.  I read Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince seven times between the midnight when I bought it and the time Deathly Hallows was released…and it was by no means the only book I read in that time.  But lately, no fiction, either familiar or new, has been able to hold my attention for long.  My sister, however, recommended the Rick Riordan novels as uniformly enjoyable, and I know that my son loved the ones he read, so I purchased the Kindle version of The Lightning Thief, and so far – admittedly less than a tenth of the way into the book – I’m enjoying it.  I’ve been seriously worried, because I even had to force my brutal way through rereading the first four books of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series.  Frankly, I skipped a lot of book four, and then I just hung up on book five.  If Stephen King’s magnum opus can’t keep my attention, I’m in trouble.

Reading nonfiction, though, has not been as problematic; I love science books of many kinds, and have recently become enamored with more philosophical, political, and historical works as well.  Interestingly enough, some of my best story inspirations come to me from reading science books rather than as part of reading fiction.  Many of the ideas that appear in The Chasm and the Collision were triggered by my reading of The Fabric of the Cosmos, by Brian Greene.

Well, this post has gone all over the place, and has by no means remained as brief as I expected it to be when I began.  That’s okay, though.  Technically, this is a blog, and as such can function almost as a public diary.  In closing, I repeat that the work on Hole for a Heart is proceeding well, and the story should be available for sale in e-book format within a month, probably sooner.  It’s longish for a short-story, but that seems to be just how I roll.  (At least you’ll know you’re going to be getting your ninety-nine cents worth.)

Then, once that’s out, I shall return in full force to Unanimity, which is getting close to the end.  This is reassuring, since it’s already much longer than I had expected it to be.  These things do happen, I suppose.  Again, it just seems to be how I roll.

I welcome your feedback on this posting, on any others I have written, and even on anything else that might be on your mind.  The comment section below is open, and my Facebook and Twitter accounts are public.  I am a bit socially awkward, but nevertheless, I welcome you to contact me, at least regarding matters that I’ve discussed publicly.  And I also both encourage – and even beg – those of you who have read my work to give reviews, or at least ratings, on Amazon.  It really makes a difference.

Be well, all of you.  That’s an order.

TTFN!


*As part of this editing process, I’ve noticed, or discovered, a fascinating fact and trick:  Changing the font of your writing between edits can help you notice things that need fixing, and which you hadn’t noticed before, in the original font.  This is a fascinating psychological fact, at least about me, and now that I’ve discovered it, I mean to put it to full use from this moment on.

**  I actually posted one of those entries on my Facebook page recently.  It’s the opening paragraph for an eventual story, the trigger for which I can’t currently recall, and for which I have no idea what the story will be.  I like that paragraph a lot, though I can see a few edits that I’d make in structure and wording if I ever do write the story, but first that story has to reveal itself to me.

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Once More Unto the Breach, Dear Friends…

Once more

Okay, I’ve been putting off doing a post, because I kind of thought I wanted to have something profound to say after not having been around here for a while.  Then I decided, “What the heck? There’s no need to be so serious.”  I want to celebrate being back, and being able to post something, by actually posting something.  It’s not as though I haven’t been writing this whole time, in any case.  In fact, while I’ve been away, I’ve written two complete novels, gotten most of the way done on a third, and I also wrote a very long “short story”.

Those of you who’ve been paying attention (both of you!) will have noticed that chapters of my books have been published on Amazon for Kindle even while I’ve been away.  For this I owe thanks to my amazing and incredibly supportive sister, Liz, who showed breathtaking courage and tenacity by wading through my handwritten–often in cursive!–writing to retype it and publish it to Amazon.  But now I’ve been able to take that task off her hands.

Those of you who may not understand just what an undertaking that project was will do well to learn this:  Before I started using it, cursive was simply called “script” writing.  Only after people began to try to decipher my writing did it come to be known as “curse-ive”…and for good reason.

Okay, maybe that’s a mild exaggeration.  But it is only mild.

As for just why I have been away for such a long time…well, there will be more on that to come.  Suffice it to say that, like Gandalf, I was delayed because I was held captive.  I will be writing about that experience, about the things it has made me realize about the society in which we live, and the things which we so readily and thoughtlessly accept, which we should not, in the near future.  I’m sure you can’t wait.

There is going to be a shift in focus on this blog–one might actually say that it will be less focused going forward, in the sense that I am not going to attempt to tailor it narrowly about one particular topic or subject matter, nor even to keep it focused around narrow ranges of material.  Of course, I expect that I will continue to write about scientific and medical topics; these are two of the loves of my life, after all, and as the great Carl Sagan pointed out, when you’re in love you want to shout it to the world.  But another love of my life is writing fiction, and I am going to be discussing my ongoing fiction writing a fair amount, since it is the single most dominant fact of my life at the present moment.

I have been writing at least a thousand words a day (and usually more) at least six days a week for the past two years or so.  Thus the two and two-thirds completed novels and the seventy-five page “short story.”  I will publish the latter–called Paradox City–on Amazon as soon as it’s in shape to do so, and I am going to continue to publish serially the chapters of both Mark Red and The Chasm and the Collision as I get them in shape to do so as well.  I will begin to publish the third novel, Son of Man, the same way, as I get it ready.

I am doing this under the imprint of my own publishing company, which is called Chronic Publications, a company which I envisioned at least as far back as high school.  I am soon going to be incorporating it (as a Florida corporation), and carrying out my intention of giving half the after-tax proceeds to literacy charities.  As a writer, how could I do otherwise?  Without written language, civilization would not exist.  For anyone at all to be deprived of the joy of partaking in that fact in the modern world is unforgivable.

So that’s a little hint of the shape of things to come, at least as it pertains to this blog.  I hope to keep you entertained, perhaps to provoke some thought, and in any case, to indulge myself here.  If you like it, please share it (you don’t need to put a ring on it, though).  I really am going to try to make a difference in the world from here on in, so the more people I can reach, the better.

In the meantime, thank you for reading, if you are reading.  Well, if you aren’t you can’t experience my thanks, anyway, so I guess it goes without saying.  Trees falling in woods while no one’s listening, and all that…

TTFN:  Ta-ta-for-now!