“Paradox City” is the next story I wrote—or completed, anyway—after I finished the first draft of “Mark Red.” I say “completed,” because I actually began writing “The Chasm and the Collision” months before I started “Mark Red,” in apparent contradiction to what I wrote in my previous author’s note. But I had only written what were then the first and second chapters of “CatC,” which were eventually consolidated into one chapter, and had then put them aside. I also didn’t have them with me while I was a guest of the Florida State Department of Corrections. My mother, thankfully, had a printout of the chapters, and my intention was to complete that book once I had finished “Mark Red,” when I had worked enough of the rust from my writing gears. However, the chapters hadn’t arrived yet by the time I finished “Mark Red.” While I waited, I wanted to be productive and to maintain my daily early-morning writing habits, so I decided to write a short story. Continue reading
What follows is my first “author’s note” about one of my works, and I’ve decided to begin with “Mark Red,” because it’s my first published book, and the first book I wrote as an adult since medical school.
Ideas for the stories I write tend to arrive in one of two ways. Often, of course, I simply think of the idea of a story, develop it, often start or even complete writing it, and come up with the title later. This was certainly the case with “The Chasm and the Collision” and “Son of Man,” as well as with the short stories “If the Spirit Moves You,” “Prometheus and Chiron,” “I for one welcome our new computer overlords,”* and “Hole for a Heart.” However, at times I come up with a title first, or a particular phrase seems like it might make a good title, and I develop a story to go with the title. Such is the case with “Paradox City” and “The Death Sentence,” and it is true in spades of “Mark Red.” Continue reading
To any who’ve been paying attention, it’s no doubt obvious that I have not yet edited my reading of “Prometheus and Chiron.” For anyone who has been awaiting that release with bated breath, I do apologize (and encourage you to breathe normally).
Similarly, it’s obvious that I haven’t yet made any new videos to post since my introductory effort.
One reason for the latter fact is that I simply don’t like how I look right now. I’m not exactly hideous, perhaps (though opinions surely vary), but I am heavier than I like to be, and I would really like to lose a little weight before making any more videos; there are also other cosmetic issues that I find unsatisfying. This reticence is despite the fact that there are specific matters on which I would love to make commentary (such as my irritation about people failing to signal when turning or changing lanes), and which I’d like to address videographically because, as I think I’ve said before, video lends itself particularly well to rants. Tone of voice, as well as facial expression, can help convey certain passionate arguments in a much more potent way than can words alone—though I am a devotee of the written word, and likely always will be. Video also tends to reach more people, for better or for worse, than the written word often does. Continue reading
Happy November, everybody.
As anyone who’s followed this blog recently knows, last week I released my latest short story, “Hole for a Heart,” just in time for Halloween. I hope you enjoyed it, if you read it (it’s hard to imagine you enjoying it if you didn’t read it, but I suppose it takes all kinds in this world).
I apologize for the fact that I haven’t yet released the audio of my short story “Prometheus and Chiron.” It’s simply very difficult to seize the moments to accomplish such feats, given that I work full time five or six days a week, with a nearly-two-hour commute in each direction, and of course continue writing every day as well. This all tends to leave me rather fatigued, so on the weekends I mainly decompress (though in boring ways). I do mean to release that audio, but it does need to be edited before I can do that, and I don’t want to rush it. If you were to listen to it as it is now—even if I combined the separate tracks—you might be amused, but I don’t think that you’d particularly enjoy the story, and that’s obviously my hope for the process. Continue reading
I’ve been making excellent progress on my new short story, tentatively titled “Hole for a Heart.” It’s now about twenty-four pages long in draft form, and—I think—is well over halfway finished. This is good, because I want to have it ready for you all to read in time for Halloween, since it is a horror story with a good, Halloweeney feel. Fortunately, as I’ve said before, I tend to write quickly, if I just commit myself to the task. I don’t know if that ends up meaning that I write well; it’s impossible for me to be objective about my own writing, so I can only say whether I like the story or not. Thankfully, I almost always do. Continue reading
Okay, well, here I am back again, after a hiatus last week, for which I apologize. I suppose that I can’t be held entirely to blame for that break—after all, the cause was hurricane Irma, which did a fair amount of damage to south Florida, and kept the power out where I live for over a week. My neighborhood is fairly old, and there are quite a few trees, and the power lines have seen better days. This is not a great combination when a category 5 hurricane comes through, though thankfully we did not get hit by the main force of the beast, as we thought was going to happen.
I had intended to do my fiction writing even when the power was out—I had my clipboard and a stack of notebook paper all ready—but the sheer annoyance and mugginess of south Florida without either regular lights or air conditioning just made the whole thing too unpleasant. Actually, it was fairly unpleasant to do most things, even to sleep. Late summer in Florida is no joke. I guess if I’d known that I was going to be stuck in those conditions on an ongoing basis, I would have just buckled down, bitten the bullet, and mixed my metaphors—goodness knows I’ve been through worse—but given that I knew it was quite temporary, I used the occurrence as an excuse to be mildly lazy.
However, as of Monday morning, I am back at the word processor, and have been writing steadily on “Unanimity.” It’s moving along well. I’ve been writing what I hope is one of the most intense and dark scenes in the book, and it’s becoming longer than I thought it would be. I fear it will need some serious pruning before I’m done with it. Oh, well, I’ve had a lot of practice lately with cutting up unnecessary and troublesome branches of one kind or another.
I’ve been working toward the making of my planned video log, which will be named the same as my other blog on WordPress (Iterations of Zero), though I don’t know if I’ll officially name the channel or anything. I expect that, before I come out with my next post here, I’ll have created the inaugural video for Iterations of Zero, and that’s kind of exciting. It may be uncharitable of me to inflict my face on the viewing world, but since no one is forced to watch, I say caveat viewor. Hopefully I’ll be able to make it worth your pain. It’ll be worth it to me, anyway.
In the meantime, things are returning to normal, or what passes for normal in south Florida (those of you who have read Dave Barry or Carl Hiaasen, or their ilk, will know that Florida is a bizarre place indeed…especially if you realize that they do not need to embellish most of what they write). The trains are running again, the weather is muggy and hot, the drivers are almost uniformly terrible (apparently something about the local climate interferes particularly with the function of turn signals) and greenery takes root on anything that sits still for longer than five minutes.
I’m going to cut it a bit short this week (I’m sure you’re all devastated); we went back into work last Thursday, as soon as the power came back at the office, and have been working straight every day since, to try to make up for the days that we missed while the hurricane raged and ranted. So, I’m a little tired from that, and just from trudging my way through the hurricane and its aftermath.
Hopefully my next posting here will also contain a link to my latest (and earliest) video on YouTube, and you can let me know what you think. In the meantime…
Okay, well, I’m not going to be writing all that much today, but I do want to make an important announcement, one to which I’ve been building up for some time: “The Chasm and the Collision” is out! Here are the two versions, paperback and Kindle, from which you can choose (or if you can’t decide, you can feel free to buy one of each. Or more than one of each. Why not? ^_^ ). Just click on the image and you’ll be brought to the Amazon page where the book is listed:
Unfortunately, on the very day it was released (two days ago, now), my mother’s health took a downward turn. She was already in the hospital after having felt a bit weak and having some other, more specific troubles, and her situation had become more complicated than it was expected to become. Certainly, it was more complicated than I had expected it to become. Anyway, now I’m writing this while sitting in the Greyhound station in Knoxville while they clean the bus, having left from Fort Lauderdale (on a different bus) yesterday morning. I have not spoken with my mother’s doctors directly, but my sister has, and my mother is apparently not expected to recover. She is certainly very weak.
This makes the whole situation quite bittersweet. My mother was very much looking forward to this book—at least she said so, and I believe her—so it’s unpleasantly ironic for it to have come out the very day her health took a downturn that may prevent her from reading it.
Incidentally, I apologize that the cover differs somewhat from paperback to Kindle. For some reason, I was unable to reproduce the paperback’s cover for the Kindle version, so I had to do something else. (Something Other, you might say.) Looking back, I actually kind of like the forced, ad-hoc Kindle cover. Maybe I’ll release a second edition of the paperback that has the same cover as the Kindle one.
Ugh, I feel like my writing is terrible right now. Of course, that doesn’t stop it from coming out. One thing I can say for me, I don’t have trouble just getting some words out onto paper (or computer, as the case may be). But my brain is quite foggy. Even though I’ve spent most of my time sleeping since leaving the south Florida area, no one could ever claim that sleeping on a bus is actually restful. Well…I guess they could claim it, but they would be lying, and what on Earth could lead them to such a deception?
Perhaps they are on the payroll of the Greyhound company…
Okay, well, that’s really all I have to say, more or less. I was hoping to be as excited as Hell (and those who know Hell know just how excitable it is) when I announced the release of CatC. And I am excited, of course. But it’s an excitement tempered by grim anticipation and worry. Hopefully you readers can be excited on my behalf. I would be deeply grateful.
Also, please call your mothers, if you still have that option.