Thursday, December 31, 2009

Book 2, Annabelle & Roland; Threats From Sea and Shadow, is truly finished!

I’m stunned. I mean, sure, I thought it was finished before, but now it truly is. Baring in mind the manuscript will endure harsh betas and editors, it’s finished.

To understand how momentous this occasion is, let me give you some back story. Back in 2004 I began with a simple idea about vampire children trying to learn how to be creatures of the night while staying true to their human natures. I wrote a story that continued through their first seven years in a cabin in the wilds of Colonial America.

Then I threw a curve ball and brought in enough conflict to tear apart the children. The boy traveled the Caribbean with vampire pirates while the girl searched for him in post fire London. I never finished their separate adventures and never reunited them.

Instead, I rethought my book and focused on their first seven years in the colonies. I saved their separate adventures for book 2. After finishing book one, editing it, getting it reviewed by betas and editing it again, I eventually returned to the 2nd half.

I wrote half of the 2nd book and discovered it was very long. So I ended it on a cliff hanger and still the siblings didn’t reunite. One problem (well, lots of problems), the book sucked. There were things in need of cutting and quite frankly the story should remain a stand alone book. The kids had to find each other.

So I revisited the 2nd book and rewrote the stuff I had. After a long while I found my true ending and now, today, it’s actually complete. Annabelle and Roland have reunited at last!

I’m so excited!

My dream cover

THIS is what I imagine the cover of my book to look like. Of course writers don't get that choice and I'm far from getting published, but if I could, this would be it. Well, this as done by a real artist, but you get the idea.

Maybe more dark shadows where only their silhouettes and red eyes are shown.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas & other things

Hi, oh great followers in the shadows.

We had a good Christmas. Got my wife Cd's, games, jewelry and pajamas. Dave got a castle, figures and games. Sara got a microscope, a doll and a video camera. Katie got books, a doll and the Battleship game. Laura got a comforter, a doll and an action figure. I got waves 9 & 10 of DC Universe Classics figures and some pajamas.

All in all a good Christmas. We went light looking at Thanksgiving Point Thursday night (Christmas Eve) and visited family on Christmas day. Tyson & Julie (brother-in-law & his wife/family) had us over for visiting and dinner. A good day.

Recently we had another flood. I might have posted about it. It was back in September. The sewer backed up. We've finished the repairs and returned things to "normal". After our luck, though, I'm a little wary.

We switched the playroom with our bedroom and we're still trying to get used to sleeping upstairs away from the kids after 9 years in the basement.

Dave finally got his Marvel Legends Storm. I got one too but mine reeks of tobacco. Still trying to clean it.

Janeen lost her Grandmother last week. Grandmother Reid passed away during the night. The Cancer finally won. But now she doesn't hurt. She's at peace & she went home to celebrate Christmas with her husband, children, siblings and parents. God bless and keep her.

Friday, November 20, 2009

I miss pocket heroes!

Remember these, guys?

I remember owning them after my 8" Megos and before my Kenner Star Wars. Sigh. Good times.

Batman with removable rubber head so he was always decapitated. Wonder Woman's rubber shirt always fell off. My first Captain Marvel and Green Goblin. Robin tall enough to always be an adult.

I had the Hall of Justice, too. I remember a pic on a viewscreen where Superman was flanked by Hawkeye, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. Never did understand how a DC toy got away with that.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

I got an Award!

Fellow vampire writer Tara (check her blog out here at the bloodcrossed writer) gave me an award.

It was very nice of her. I'm glad that my ramblings help others. Thats one of the goals I have when it comes to becoming a full time writer.

I need to pass this onto others and hopefully when I have an extra moment, I shall.

For the moment though, I just wanted to publicly say thanks to Tara. Thanks!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Crit won't get me down...

It's a funny thing. Seems after I get a positive experience, a negative one happens. LOL.

Well, no biggie.
For some reason my old query letter review post resurfaced on Absolute Write. People were reviewing a query that had been changed for awhile. I explained that my query is waiting until I get my book further sorted out and thanked them for their opinions.

Then another post from March resurfaced. I posted my 1st chapter at the password protected Share Your Work section of Absolute Write back in March as well. Got mixed results and some good advice. Well today, out of the blue, some one ripped it a new one in such a way as to make me want to chuck the 1st chapter (what would that be? The 5th or 6th version of the 1st chap?) and write another brand new one.

Or I could cut straight to them marching into the woods and the action.
Or I could gut big sections of the entire book and expand the Salem chap.
I'm already going through a crisis in faith as to what my novel needs as seen in earlier posts.

Memories of that E-Pub rejection resurfaces. After what that surprise review of Chap 1 said, it's no wonder I was told it read like a rough draft.

Memories of past critique partners telling me to shelf Annabelle and write something else resurfaces. I should do that, too.

So am I freaking again? Nope. Sounds like it but no. With those eager faces still in my mind (from my speaking engagement this afternoon at the school), I'm forging ahead.

I've just had so many regular folk read and edit that I'm lost. I don't know if I'm coming or going. I really need to look at what should go, what should stay, what should be rewritten and if the entire first book should be scrapped and I should start over.

Guess that's why I need a pro editor to give me an opinion I can trust. I'm not saying I can't trust fellow first time unpublished authors. I'm not saying I can't trust friends, co-workers, family or e-published authors. I'm not saying I shouldn't trust critique groups or betas or teachers.

All I'm saying is that for five years I've heard what feels like a thousand voices shouting their opinions (some well learned, others deeply felt) in my brain and all I know is that I've always known nothing.

But despite this, I'm not quitting. I'll keep going and pushing. There are things I do know.

1)If I stop writing Book 2 with two chapters left, I may never go back and I wont have the same momentum. This has to be done. Once finished I can shelf Book 2 till I'm ready (if ever) for it.

2)I still believe in this book, this series and these characters. I still have my passion and I know this will work. I truly do. I know it has to work and it will. I just don't know how.

3)I honestly need a learned opinion on the best way to market Annabelle. I'm all mixed up. My ideas and concepts gain interest, but either how I'm executing them or how the 1st Chap is showing them is wrong. Is the whole book wrong? Is it the newest version of chap 1? Should I cut to the smallest version of book 1 and add more in the history dept? Should I shelf it and start later in their lives? Tell something different about them? How will this start? I need someone who understands the market and what truly is "wrong" instead of their opinion of it.

4)I should take that break everyone is telling me about. I should begin Myths or my time travel novel or something completely different. I know in my bones I can't stay away too long, but it would only help.

So there you go. I don't want answers and I'm not stressed or mad. Just need several things done.

Spoke to another class

Today I had the opportunity to speak with a class of 8th graders about my novel. They really enjoyed my visit.
I started out by showing them pics of my main characters and some settings. I then explained the story for the first book. I sat down and read part of chapter 27 (Salem) and then asked for questions.

Right away the kids said they liked it and then asked several things about my writing experience and the novel itself. The only questions I had a hard time with are the following;
"When will it get published?"
I stated a hopeful goal but I'm of course unsure. They seemed alright with that.
"What did you think of Salem when you walked through it?"
He thought I actually went there to observe. I had to explain that everything I've learned has been from books and study but I'd like to one day visit.

It was a wonderful experience and I can't wait till the time when I actually can share it with a wide audience.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Money blues


I've been away working my butt off. We've had a stressful project at work and it's caused me to work a lot of over time. Every night I come home exhausted and wake each morning still tired. There is a lot of mental stress involved, trying to make sure everything is correct.

You'd think the silver lining with all this over time is that I would be able to save for that editor. Wrong. Too much money going out to bills. I feel like I'm working for nothing.

I shouldn't complain. A co-worker is salary and all the extra time he spends at home and work on this project counts as free labor. At least I can pay for bills. Still, it would be nice to squirrel away something for that editor. Or maybe buy one of those figures I want.

I guess I'm just over tired.

There is a sliver of good news, however. After three weeks of hard time at work, I stole fifteen minutes to write some of book two. I haven't been able to start something new yet, but I'm just happy to write anything at all.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Restart perspective

OK my mysterious lurking friends, I'm back up again. Various people, chief among them my wife, three friends (Michelle, Rick and Don) and my sister in law have all given me great advice.

Three principle things have been advised my most. Not everyone said all three but these were the things I needed to hear.

1) See professional help. LOL! Yes, I could always us that kind, but what they mean is "Get the opinions of an editor". I have gotten a lot of help from friends, family and other writers. It's time to pay a professional editor to look for what can make this puppy shine.

2)Don't quit. Now I may go on about my stress, lament the process and cast negative aspirations about my abilities, but the truth is this novel series and as a whole, writing in general, is in my blood. Don't worry. I can't stay away too long.

3)Take a break. This does not mean take a break from writing. I go on and on about Annabelle. I tweet about her, I have a Myspace page I never update devoted to her, and so on. I have my reasons for that. Chief among them is the fact it's a drive to share her stories with kids, for Annabelle and Roland to inspire and entertain children. So that's why I'm all about her and her book.

But every writer knows that we get too close to our books. We need to step away for awhile. Write something else. I do have other ideas, formed into notes and plans. I don't discuss them because I want to keep it under my hat. Family and close friends know about them, but that's all. It's time to begin one of those other novels. I have three chapters left of book two. I'll finish because I don't want to loose the momentum. Then I'll shelf book two and take a break from her world. I'll begin my fantasy novel that has no vampires in it at all.

So there you go. My plan of action.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Tired of rejection

Really thinking about quiting. Guess I go through this a lot when faced with points of view opposite mine.

I received a rejection to that e-publisher. I was told my manuscript reads like a rough draft.
That hurt because I've given it to many people and changed a great deal along the way. I realize they've only seen the 1st chapter but what if they're right? They suggested I rewrite the whole thing.

Don't they realize I already did?

Someone told me I should have a paid editor look at it. I know that's good advice. I need a Content and substantive editor to see if this book is crap or if it can be saved.

I'm tired. No one can truly help. Others like it but they're not agents and editors.

In a sea of vampire romance, who gives a crap about young vampire adventure? And if after all that work it still reads like a rough draft, why try anymore?

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Random thoughts

I've been busy at work so lunch time is either interrupted by people who need stuff, cut short because of the stuff I need to do or spent being brain dead instead of focusing.

I hope today to keep on my writing agenda. There are about five chapters of book 2 left. Five! If I could just finish them I'd actually have book 2 truly finished. Not like I posted a couple years ago, when I mistakenly cut it in half and finished the 1st half. No, this would mean book two is a self contained story.

So after these five chapters, I'm planing on writing something non-Annabelle. There is a fantasy project that I've wanted to create since I was in high school (I'm 42 so that was a long time).

The cravings are still there for more Annabelle, but people tell me I should have something different.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Book tech support.

Something light.

Ok, feeling better

I posted the last blog entry on Absolute Write and received a lot of positive responses.

Don't worry guys, I'm feeling much better.

After a bunch of good replies I replied thus:

"Thank you. Everyone, thank you very much.
Writing is a funny thing. Once I finished venting my frustration I realized that I didn’t really mean to quit. As others have said, one (or many) negative opinions will not deter me. But I did need to hear other obsessed writers weigh in on the matter.

Smish, I didn’t ever think you were in it for the money. In fact I have nothing against you but instead have respect. You sound like you have a great dream and I commend you on it. My obsession is steering me to help/inspire/entertain children from 11 on up so chapter books are not in my path but my children love them. All the power to you. I hope you get your answers and continue to climb.

Thanks again, guys. I had a momentary drop in faith. Had them before and I will again. But it’s just turbulence ladies and gentlemen. We’re still on our journey and will be arriving at our destination, published land, at some point in the future. Feel free to move about the cabin.

I’m five chapters away from finishing the second book in the SERIES so I think I’ll finish it. Then I’ll start a new book with different characters because that’s the plan."

Not going anywhere people. I'm staying on this path.

My name is Jack Roberts and I'm an obsessed writer.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Maybe I should quit this stupid writing obsession.

I apologize ahead for the following rant but I need to get it out and see what others think about the topic.
I'm pissed. I just read an editor's thoughts on writers who create series before they've even sold their first book.

Series Potential, Seriously?
by Editorial Anonymous.

Now let me be clear. I know the quality of the writing is the most important thing. I know we must write self contained stories and I realize we do not query about plans for a series.
Agents and editors take a risk every time they sign up a new author. Most of us do not know the full extent of the business. It's all about making money and if we as authors come off with these large plans I guess it scares away the businessmen cause they see us as risks who only live in our little worlds.
So she/he is of course right. But this quote hurts and I wonder if it's a dream killer.

"More than that, experience has proven to most editors that the authors who are all excited about writing a series are either:
a) people who are under delusions of the millions of dollars there are to be made in children's books and who are uninterested in the quality of their writing in their pursuit of those dollars, or
b) people who are unhealthily obsessed with their creation and whose last interaction with reality was passing it in the street months ago, when they couldn't quite place where they knew reality from. It looked familiar... did its name start with an "R," maybe, or a "D"?"

From the very beginning I've seen this book idea as a series. I see the characters growing and learning throughout the books and I see the readers enjoying their stories. Maybe learning something from history at the same time.
But it's never been about money. Of course I need money to get out of debt, but that's what my day-job is for. Writers don't make much money. Sure, there are success stories but you cant measure against them. It's like winning the lottery.

A writer should write because they have a dream or passion that drives them. Writers should write because they love to share stories. Writers should write because they want to lift or entertain others.
Writers should never write to become richer than the Queen of England. Yes, lightning strikes, but that is based on many, many others feeling what you feel about your ideas and quite frankly that's up to what they need. If they need your story, great, but if they don't, it doesn't matter how well you write it, they wont read it.
That being said, I can swear to you point "a" in the above quote is not me. I never wrote a word in the hopeless expectation to receive cash.

But what about point "b"? Am I obsessed?
OK, she/he said "unhealthily obsessed with their creation and whose last interaction with reality".

I have songs from Lastat the musical. I have vampire themed music to get me in the mood for writing. I read vampire books because I want to make sure I'm not copying other authors. I Draw Annabelle pics for the Writer's Blog to break up the monotony of the text. I have pics of my characters for my screen saver. My blogger ID is "Scribe of Annabelle". I joke about the muse driving me and refer to it as Annabelle.
So yes. I'm obsessed.

Have I lost my connection with reality? I work a 40 work week as a drafter. I focus on my job and work very hard. I come home and help with the kids homework unless they're finished. Then I do dishes, help my gorgeous wife with dinner and enjoy a meal with the family. I watch TV or movies with them and then read my son a bed time story (and no, it's NOT my novel) then walk the dogs for a block or more. I close off the night with quality time with my wife, and then go to bed to wake up at 4:30 am to start all over again. I pay my house mortgage, car payment and other bills. I meet with my kids teachers to make sure they are doing well.

OK, so even though I act normal, I'm obsessed with my story because of the reasons above. I'm lost because I happen to love my characters and see so much in their future.
Rowling was obsessed because she had plans. Shan, Meyers, Hunter, so many others must've been obsessed too then. After all, in their first books they had seeds planted for future books. Did they have notes, too?

I know the first book may never sell. I realize it may die on its feet. But that doesn't mean I shouldn't dream of a series. I shouldn't have a bigger plan.
Writing this novel has made me a better writer. I’ve learned so much and continue to try and improve my skills. I do plan to write other things. Just because I have planed for a series doesn't mean I'm deluded or out of focus with reality.

I don't know. I guess that's why all the agents reject me now. My query doesn't go into any of this. It doesn't even mention a series. But maybe they've seen me on the web going on about Annabelle and they said "No way in hell we're representing him."
Guess I'm screwed. I blew it and all I wanted to do was share it with the world.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Claudia isn't the girl I "knew"

Years ago (five years next month) I watched Interview With a Vampire. As you know, all the Claudia scenes struck a chord within me that I couldn’t identify.

After some probing and finally some writing I discovered it wasn’t Claudia that truly struck me, but the concept of a child vampire. Of course from there we have Annabelle.

But all this time I’ve wondered about the “real” Claudia. Hollywood changes things to better fit the medium and I knew Kristen Dunst couldn’t have been absolutely book accurate.

Well, after all this time I’ve finally bought Anne Rice’s book and come to discover that “book Claudia” is different.

It’s amazing what difference size can make. Claudia was six and much shorter. Louis holds her in his arms as he walks but her power over him is very much like the wrinkled up tiny Voldermort in Wormtail’s arms. She’s more commanding and malevolent.

There are a great deal of similarities. She loves to read, is very smart and enjoys a good “meal”. She is tired of toys and wants to be older.

But the tiny size in my mind is a bigger difference than the hair color (“book Claudia” is blonde, not red). She’s just so wicked. I guess Rice was showing how innocence can look corrupt.

I wonder, if a CGI Claudia was used to show a six year old terror instead of double the age, or if Dunst played her more malevolent, would I have been inspired to create someone as completely different as Annabelle?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Funny Pictures

I found a new "thing"! I decided since some of my fellow posters on the Write Brigade blog use pics to break up their articles, I should do it too.

And since my brain thinks in terms of writing/music/ART why the crud do I not make my own pics? After all, why not show Annabelle and Roland in cartoon form to illustrate my points?

Here is my first two pics. Interesting enough, the first one is Anna as she is in the first novel but the second turned out taller and thinner. Thing is, the second one takes place in the mid-seventies so Ann and Roland would've Advanced somewhat by then. So she would be taller.

Ooops. That was a spoiler.

And I've already got an idea for the next one!

Check out
Annabelle and Roland, The Site.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

18 years!

Yesterday I spent a wonderful day with my wife. Our 18th wedding anniversary is Sunday so we decided to spend the day together.

We had a very wonderful day. There is a local amusement park nearby called Lagoon. Went spent a couple hours at the water park, then goofed around the city, ultimately going to dinner and watching Time Traveler's Wife.

A great day. Wish we had more but with four kids and seven pets, time is precious.

Muse is pulling my chain

Ever since I decided to try e-publishing, my muse has been on fire! I can't stop working on my novel. It's like a drug fix (not that I would know). It nags at me, constantly pulling me to "it".

Sometimes "it" is working on a submission to an agent or e-publisher. Sometimes "it" means working on my platform (my web presence) and sometimes "it" means the novel, or world building.

This feeling is obsessive and I'm glad. I need to be pushed. In fact I shouldn't be posting this. I need to write!

Check out
Annabelle and Roland, The Site.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Change in direction

Last weekend I was reading a wonderful
from lit agent Nikki Van de Car. I really enjoy these guest posters on the Brigade blog because they give a great deal of useful information.

During the interview Michelle asked Nikki...

Michelle: "What do you think of authors who have self-published? Is it a career breaker or does it depend on the number of books they've sold? How about any who've been e-published?"

Nikki: "I don't think of it as a career breaker. For a very small number of people, it can be a career maker, but most authors can't sell tens of thousands of copies of books they've self-published--and you're not expected to. When I see a query from an author who has been self-published, it tells me that he or she is dedicated. And in the case of e-books as well, it says they have some experience in putting their work out there."

Now I have no desire whatsoever of self-publishing but the concept of e-publishing has always intrigued me. My wife Janeen has discussed this with me recently and some time age my friend Willard did the same. In fact I've read in various agent blogs how it's the future.

My goal, ladies and gentlemen, has always been to follow this dream to it's expected destination. I knew very early on that Annabelle had to get out into the world. To meet that endeavor, I tried chasing after lit agents. To sell your book to a publisher you must 1st find an agent to represent you. I will continue to do this.

With the tough economy agents are picking fewer 1st time authors. So it might be awhile before Annabelle gets anywhere.

One thing I did not fully realize was that most authors start small. But starting with a tiny audience that grows with time and effort is better than standing still.

So I made the decision to try e-publishers. I chose one, carefully groomed a submission package and sent it out.

It's a two month wait on word and I know I should always expect rejection but I can't help but feel nervous.

Check out
Annabelle and Roland, The Site.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Charge of the Write Brigade

I've received a great honor. A fellow writer friend has invited me to join her gathering of authors. As a first time author, I feel humbled.

It's called the
Charge of the Write Brigade.
Various authors provide insight on the vast world of writing.

I will be posting articles on the writing process and the things I've learned. Come visit!


All is well. I’ve been assaulted with sickness but I’m doing better. Hey, it wasn’t the swine flu so I’m counting my blessings.

Work has been crazy. I’m under a deadline for the end of the month at it appears I’ll make it despite the load of drawings and constant interruptions at the office.
I’m seriously rocking on the second book. I’ve got roughly ten more chapters to finish. This next chap really excites me. Ruthless Rach, under Dominic’s control, is tasked with killing Annabelle. Poor Ann isn’t going to like it one bit.

I’ve been so busy with family and work that my submissions have stopped. I need to get back on the horse. Sometimes I look at the constant barrage of vampires in ever medium and I fear my voice will never be heard.

As some may notice, I’ve removed several entries from this blog. For years I’ve allowed Caption the Pic a weekly update here. This blog should be used for ramblings on my life and writing. I have a different site for the Caption Pics and the two should no longer mix.

I’m in the process of cleaning and restructuring my sites. Time is always limited but expect more updates soon.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Ah Disney, I knew you well

Two weeks ago this morning my family entered Disneyland for the 1st time in 12 years. It was amazing. After 1/2 a year of counting down, we left in the morning (4:30 am) and drove from Utah to California. We arrived at Anaheim around 4 in the afternoon. We ate then enjoyed the pool and hot tub.

On Friday morning we entered the park and a week's worth of fun occurred. We ate the Mickey Mouse pancakes for breakfast (how do they make them taste exactly the same as they did when I was 6 in the early 70's?), rode our favorite rides and walked our legs off. I think I lost 10 lbs.

I want to give you a day by day report, but I'm tired and it'll take too long. Suffice to say, we didn't do everything we wanted at Disneyland and California Adventure, but that's only because we chose to ride our 8-9 favorite rides up to 4 times during those 6 days at the parks. That's fine by me. :)

It was perfect and now we want to go again next year. Hope we do.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

ABC's new "V" remake trailer.

A remake. Hmm. I really liked the classic but it seemed to get lost in itself. Maybe this reboot will have some improvements?

Friday, April 24, 2009

More editing

I'm further along on Book Two. I've cut two more scenes and tightened the POV. It's a start.

The goal is to turn Book Two into a complete story. Instead of breaking it into two books, I want to tell one story with it.

I went through the tender, heart breaking scenes today. I really feel for Annabelle right now.

Reginald came into the town, framed them for murder, revealed their existence to the town and that means the destruction of their quiet lives and the death of a major character.

Anyway, lots of success today. Hope for more.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

How Do You Know When To Quit?

I just read this article by Toni McGee Causey called "How Do You Know When To Quit?"
It's very powerful.

Here is an excerpt...

We dream the dream, and we want it to be easy. We live in a society where pop stars get millions to show up and act badly and behave worse, and while we mock that, we’d all secretly like the trip to success to be just that simple: show up. But it’s not that simple. It’s not always easy. It’s hard work, it’s perseverance, it’s making sure you’ve got the goods when the opportunity comes along.

That last part? Yeah, that’s the hard part. It bears repeating: it’s making sure you’ve got the goods when the opportunity comes along. That means hard work, when it comes to writing. Telling a compelling story for an entire novel isn’t like making Ritz crackers and cheese and calling it a four-course meal. There’s a bit more to it than just sitting in front of the computer and spilling out a story. For some people, it may come naturally. For the rest of us, it’s a constant process of learning, improving, getting feedback, listening to it, learning from it, discarding what doesn’t work, and then trying again.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

I wrote yesterday!

Life is very busy for me, both at work and home. Each morning when I walk the dogs, I recommit myself to spending a piece of each day writing something.
"Writer's write."
I heard that expression somewhere before. Sure, we edit and world build, but we also write. Sometimes all three are linked. Yesterday I actually wrote/edited some of Book Two' Chapter Two!

Kinda proud of myself.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

"It's not right for me"

Just read Janet Reid's 5 things about rejections...

Good advice. Especially...

5. You just have to get over the idea that "it's not right for me" is some sort of comment on the value or quality of your work. It's not. It's only a comment about whether it resonates with me AND whether I can sell it. I pass on really good stuff all the time.

Hmmm. Maybe it isn't my idea.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Wonders of wonders

I actually wrote a chapter of a new book. It was great, honestly writing something new instead of editing. Sure, I wrote that short story for the contest a while back, but this was something different.

Now to get in the habit of writing more.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Sara getting hearing aid

Yup, my daughter is getting one. I don't know if I should be sad that she needs one, or grateful that she's taking it with a strong upbeat personality.

Naw. My real feelings are right here on the surface. I'm just grateful she'll FINALLY be able to hear in that ear!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Getting beeeetter...

I can do this! I forgot! I DID learn a lot in '08. Query is shaping up. Need to take bathroom break and do dishes but then I'll clean it up and repost at AW.

Lex Luthor asks for a handout

Just tired

Sorry for the depressed entry yesterday. Maybe a lot of my problem is that I'm tired from a busier - than - usual work load.

I need to get back on the saddle. Don't get me wrong, my fears and frustrations are still here. It's just that writing is in my blood and I couldn't stop if I tried.

OK. 1st off, I need to apply the points from Absolute Write I can't argue. The query never got the "un-stiffen treatment" my novel got. I need to reinvent it again. Clean it up and send it out. This includes clarifying the dangers, motivations and deepening Ann's voice in the query.

2nd, I need to schedule time each night for some writing activity.

That's all for now. Gotta get to work.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


I'm so tired. People talk about my word count being too big. They tell me I'm Middle Grade. They tell me a lot. I try and try but they still tell me things.

And who are they? Most aren't published. They quote rules and say everyone is an exception but I'd be stupid to buck the system. I choke on advice.

And published authors? Do they follow me? They add me on Twitter or follow me on Absolute Write, but never think to help me. They live the dream but I'm not worth it.

Everyone says "Don't quit" but why? I'm sick of it.

My fire has finally gone out. I never have the time required to work on the craft and when I do it's the same road blocks. Maybe I'll never learn. Maybe I'm a fool.

What the hell was I thinking?

Annabelle's no good. I'm no good.

All I wanted was to share her. Maybe lift kids up or allow them a moment's distraction.

I've lost.

Thursday, March 05, 2009



Ah well. It was a nice birthday. We had balloons, a great cake, a wonderful dinner and some relaxation with the fam. They even cleaned the house for me. Very nice of them! Days like this makes me feel special.

Love you guys!

Thoughts on work after the contract

"Prepare Yourself for Success" by Rachelle Gardner, Literary Agent.

Whew! When I read this I got depressed. I know my family would support me, but so much work will come! Am I ready? No. Will I be? No clue.

I've got to get ready.

Last night I took a long walk, pondering the fearful future that a writing contract would mean while at the same time pondering all my resent rejections and the possibility that maybe no one wants Annabelle. Well after all that swimming in my head I was ready to throw in the towel.

But I took a deep look inside me. I thought of what it would mean to not be published. What if it never happened? What if I did quit?

I realized that I can't stop the stories. If I never planned on getting them out there, if I never had a reason to perfect the craft, I'd still gravitate towards the Parodyverse or other sites where I could write.


Because many, many stories run through my head. Everything and anything sets them up and they create on their own. Maybe I'm codependent but I have this wild need (ever sense I discovered writing for others) to share my stories.

So if I quit this foolish dream where I only half get what would really happen if I became a published author, if I quit this, I'd still write stories. Only after all is said and done, I'd think on the few requests I got back in '06 and wonder. What if?

I'm not going to quit. I'm considerably pessimistic about the whole thing, but I wont quit.

Truth is, Rachelle Gardner is correct. If a miracle happens and I do get a contract, there will be deadlines just to name one problem. Deadlines while striving to keep my full time job and still know my family.
What I can do now is help my future self by getting an extra jump on those deadlines and perfecting the craft.

Book two of Annabelle needs heavy editing.
My "store" project needs to be written.
My "fantasy" project needs to be written.
Book 3 of Annabelle needs to be both edited and written.

I've got a long way to go so and only evenings and weekends to do it. I need to make a schedule. Pick certain days and weeks to work on writing, editing and submitting.

More later as I try this.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Eath-23 was uncharted!

Watch out regular readers, I'm going to geek out for a moment...

Just watched Batman Brave and the Bold. He teems up with Red Hood from an unnamed Earth (who we know is the Joker of that world) to fight the Injustice Syndicate.

At the beginning of the episode Red Hood sends out a calling card to Earth-23. After the commercial, we're back in the regular Brave and the Bold universe where we finally see the Bat cave get to see several tributes to the Batman concepts. Bats finds Red Hood's marker.

So now it's official! The Brave and the Bold cartoon takes place on Earth-23. Being a grade- A nerd, I had to check the running list to see if Earth-23 had been charted under the current 52 Earths...

If you scroll down to "The 52" (that's the current Multiverse for DC Comics) you'll see that Earth-22 is home to the Kingdom Come world and Earth-26 is Captain Carrot's Earth. 23-25 is uncharted!

So this is the first ever cartoon to comic official crossover. I mean I realize they never went to the other worlds, but they get a number. I personally think that's cool.

Now I'm not sure what Earth this toon version of the Crime Syndicate are from, but it could be Earth-24. That still leaves room for others.

In the last scene of the preview you see Brave and the Bold Bats fighting another Batman. Sure, it's probably Owlman in disguise, but look closely at the colors. The blue is darker, there is more shadow and the gray is a tiny bit darker. It looks just like Batman from the Batman Animated series. They wouldn't dare. Would they? I would go crazy excited if they did.

I should say this episode was great. From the bad heroes vs good villains to the tributes to Adam West Bats and Micheal Keaton Bats. They even through in a tribute to Marvel Zombies (a concept I never liked). Earth 161 was the zombie world but the real Marvel Universe is Earth 616. Get it? OK, you had to be there.

It'll be great to see Joker next week as he'll be the first Bat villain we've had (except Kite Man).

... ok, geeking moment done.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Marvel Legends RIP

Looking at Hasbro's display pics for both the NY Comic Con and the Toy Fair, seems Hasbro has decided to go in different directions.

It sucks that we never got a better Scarlet Witch or Ultron. It sucks that there are several figures we'll never get (so many from Klaw to Captain Marvel II). It sucks we'll never see so many Build-a-figures we'd want, like a quinjet or Eternity or Grandmaster.

But with the economy as bad as it is, and so much goodness from the DC side of the fence, I probably couldn't afford any more anyway.

I've settled myself to getting Tigra and Nova. I hope they still plan on selling them at retail. Online will sky rocket if Wal-Mart doesn't get Tigra's assortment.

Ah well. We got way more than we ever dreamed we ever would. Thank you Toy Biz and Hasbro. Shame it died, but it was a fun ride.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Twitter Updates ------->

I hope you silent watchers are watching my Twitter Updates over there on the right side. I may not keep this blog as updated as I should, or cover all the things that go on in my life here, but I do there. I update Twitter at least 3 times a day.
Why so much? Because it's fast and easy. Two things I like in a quick journal entry.

Saturday, January 31, 2009


More submissions sent, couple more standard rejections.
Rewriting chapter one of book two, since it needs it badly.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


One of the agents I had sent it to before wants to see it again!
I'm so excited!

I need to calm down. Must expect a rejection.

But I've worked so hard all year and everything this last year. This was the agent who called the prior version "unnatural in places". I've worked that out. At least I think so. Sherry told me some of the first chapters still may have that feel. I hope not!
Anyway, I'm going to be insane now.


Saturday, January 24, 2009

My muse got carried away last night...

On Twitter there are lots of fake accounts. Everyone from Darth Vader to Alfred Pennyworth to Bigfoot have Twitter accounts. This means somewhere there is somebody who is pretending to be their favorite characters and twitting stuff. In my opinion these are fun to read and I like some of them.

I'm following almost the entire cast of the Twilight book series. Every night "they" get into it. They work off each other, acting in character and relating to each other that way. It seems several of them are now following me. It always makes me feel good to get followers (except spam).

So last night "they" had a story where Victoria was casing the house and the various cast members were reacting. At first I replied with questions and statements as me, the author of Annabelle.

Then once again "she" wanted to play. I created an account for Annabelle...

Last night "she" traded snarky remarks with the Twilight evil child vamp, Jane. Annabelle also had friendly conversations with Jacob the werewolf and Renesme, the daughter of Edward and Bella.

It was fun but I don't think I'll do it too much. I should be working on the synopsis. I still got to get Ann out into the world proper.

Who is Doctor Impossible?

My sweetheart bought me a complete set of DC Universe Classics assortment 6 last week. It sure means a lot to me.

As I look over Doctor Impossible, a brand new villain who just popped up in the pages of Justice League America, I can't help but think of his mystery.

No one knows who he is. Some of the stories are that he's Mister Miracle's brother or a goon who works for the Penguin. In my mind those answers ar boring and are there to throw people off.

In Superman Batman Vengeance we meet a female Mister Miracle from an alternate Earth where everyone is the opposite sex. She used a "Father Box".
There is now a new Earth 3 where all the heroes are villains and vice a versa.
I think Dr. Impossible, an escape artist on his universe (Earth 3), escaped to the Female/male Earth and stole a Father Box. I think he's hiding in the main universe.

At least I hope that's what it is. Because it could mean a follow up, maybe with both the JLA and JSA where they visit lots of Earths and we meet the JLAs from both those universes.

Well, it'd be fun.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Query Complete!

Finished the query letter this morn! After a year break from submitting, my old query looked new (and in some places, bogged down).
I cut all the crap that isn’t important and focused on the stuff this novel is really about. I also kept the things Snark taught me.
I’ve sent it to some betas for a look, then it’ll be ready.
Now to work on the synopsis.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

What's next?

While I'm chatty, and since the monsters are dwelling on the Nick channel, I thought I'd put down my next plans.

Annabelle isn't gone. Last Feb I received more of the same rejections. Yup. Tale as old as time. Author just doesn't get what the betas are saying and all the agents keep rejecting.

So I took a year off from submitting. Willard introduced me to Michelle's critique group, then when the time didn't work out for me he helped me start my own. Chapter after chapter my new collection of betas ripped it to shreds while I followed along with a dust pan, cleaning, fixing and then strapping on skates and trying to fix my messes before they saw them. I learned a lot and when I look over old beta notes from Chris, Aprilynne, Night Author or others I slap my head and say "They knew, how come I didn't hear them". Still I was finally listening.

Is it perfect? Heck no. Some think I should go one way, others thing another. Maybe I'm still a fool for some of my decisions. No clue. But as for actual writing mistakes. Things like passive words, telling instead of showing, following up on clues I left, etc, etc, well I ironed all that out.

There are five chaps of hand written mark ups fro0m Christy that still need applying. There are still more passive words that need to be searched out and changed into more telling.

Then it'll be "finished". This means submitting and resubmitting can begin in February. I'll start making noise again and getting her out there.

Yes, I'm pessimistic or realistic. In a year I'll probably still be just a dreamer. But I cant sit in a turkey coup and be satisfied when I know this story is an eagle and deserves to fly. So it'll be time to attack.

Meanwhile, I'll rework book 2. Ouch it's ugly. Sure, it's done, but it's ugly. Not fit for human eyes. Only Chris has seen the entire thing. Only Steven has seen sample chaps. It's wrong and needs serous edits. But that's going to be so fun. The stand alone revised ending to book 1 has allowed for a much better chapter 1 of book two. Heck, Usha gets to cameo!

Usha, for those who don't know, is the opposite. See, the idea of Annabelle was that she is the opposite of Claudia from Interview With A Vampire. Well, Usha is the opposite of Annabelle. But she's not Claudia.

OK, sorry. Got carried away. Anyway, I'm going to edit book 2 while subbing book 1. I'm also going to go deeper into world building my other novel. Yes, there ARE other novels that don't involve vampires.

So I'm excited. I can finally move forward!

Somebody's watching me!

Yup, I'm quoting Rockwell from his old 80's song.

I accidentally sent an email to one of my past beta readers and she replied back, saying "Hi"! Turns out she's been lurking. That's great! I do worry that some of my more grouchy moments have come forth too, but it's still wonderful that there are people out there.

Meanwhile, the author of Fablehaven started following me on Twitter. Yes, I finally was able to sit down and read his second book. But that doesn't mean I contacted him currently. This was a complete coincidence. I contacted him back in 07, asking questions about writing and he replied back with some great advice, but that's the only contact we've had.

Heck, there have been plenty of times in the last two years that I've wanted to speak with both Brandon Mull (said author) and Stephenie Meyers. As a fellow Mormon writing fantasy (and in Stephenie's case, vampires) I would kill for the chance to pick their brains on a number of topics only they could answer.

But my point is, that's two people (a prior beta and an author) whom contacted or followed me. Me! Sheesh. Makes me want to clean up my digital house a bit more.

It also raises a question. Since '06, after I thought I was finished with book 1, I started making a lot of noise online. I posted all over the place, trying to get Annabelle out there. If two people I contacted back then are still watching, who else is?

It's exciting.

Friday, January 02, 2009

*Sniff* The group is done

I'm sure going to miss them. We've all got various things going on and mutually agreed it was time to quit. But while it was going I learned so much. In fact, before I started it with Willard, before Sherry, Christy, Antonio or even Clare joined, I learned at the other group with Michelle, Kim and Kirk. All of the members of both critique groups have helped me beyond words.

I've thought, since day 1, who I would thank on a dedication page. In fact the rough draft had such a page and I keep everything.

So it's time to update it. I may never get published and die an old drafter who couldn't quite touch the sky, but if by some miracle I do get Ann out there and she makes it, it's due to many shoulders. Here are all the ones I can think of at the moment...

There is a special virtue in taking a curse and making it a blessing.

For the knowledge and help;
Jeff, Steven, Willard, Chris, Ian, Jay, Adam, Mike, Daniel, Mr. Peterson, Mr. Warner, Claudia, Night Author, Aprilynne, Danielle, Jason, Jesse, Michelle, Kim, Kirk, Liz (RIP), M’liss, Claire, Anna, Sherry, Antonio, Christy and two of Mr. Russon’s 6th grade classes.

For the heart and soul;
Janeen, Laura, Katelyn, Sara and David


Yep, this year of edits is done. I've got a couple things left (5 more chaps of hard copy mark ups, possible last scene from Roland's pov) then it's resubmit time. But did I catch everything?

Does it still talk down? Does the show outweigh the tell? Is the history stuff accurate? Are the characters interesting enough? Strong enough? Does it resolve things enough to be considered stand alone? Is the action paced enough? Are the redundant and passive words replaced with active words? And is it still stiff?

Sigh. Will it ever be right? Am I over-editing?

"They" all say they get sucked in. Will "they" still get sucked in? I see so many errors in so many published works, yet those books are popular. Their characters and entertain and inspire. Can mine? Will mine?

I've traded very short, brief emails with Brandon Mull and Daran Shan, but I wish I could just sit and chat with a published author about my fears. Ask them if they went through it. How did they survive? Did they ever find out if their editing was "too much" or "not enough" or did it ultimately even matter?

A part of me feels close. A part of me feels very far away.