Busy by Choice

Happy Sunday, all (unless it’s been a shit day, in which case I’m sorry that tomorrow is Monday, a day of inevitable suffering).

Installment #3 of Follow the Ashes is drafted and now ready for editing. Still on schedule. Thank god for small miracles. Book 3 in the Dissonance trilogy, which I haven’t quite settled on a name for, is coming along nicely. This is in no small part thanks to my wife and her unyielding support of my writing, which is only matched by her patience with my bouts of writing-related moping.

Speaking of Dissonance in Harmony, some news on that front. It isn’t exactly some secret that I want to get another book published. That’s a rather crucial step towards my goal of writing for a living, which in turn is a step towards my masterful plan for global domination. Obviously. I’ve gotten good, over the years, at starting new stories. I’m improving at finishing first drafts, and I’m slowly getting better at editing and proofreading my work. An abundance of gratitude towards Lindsey Vath, my dear friend and beta reader, for all of the help she has provided with Dissonance in Harmony.

However, all of the above falls a bit flat if I don’t look into querying publishers. I could have the most well-polished, well-written story on the planet and it would be positively worthless without trying to find it a home. Spoilers: I don’t have that story, but Dissonance in Harmony is a fantastic story all the same. I finally took the plunge a few weeks ago and submitted it to a publisher. Then I submitted it to another recently. And two literary agencies. Because when it rains, it pours? Because good things happen in threes…er, fours?

I’m playing the waiting game, focusing on Follow the Ashes (share the installments to show your love, please – it’s a tremendously fun series to write). Wish me luck?

Oh, and I’m on Vero now. New social media sites mystify and confuse me, but feel free to follow me at Philip Wesley Gorski.

PS: When choosing categories, I never fail to cringe at my Hundred Days of Blogging self-inflicted challenges. I may take another crack at that some day, but those were rough.

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Your worlds so greatly improved our own

I never had the good fortune of meeting Sir Terry Pratchett. There was a small, remarkably delusional part of me who dreamed of one day meeting him, perhaps becoming good friends, and maybe even collaborating on a novel (the latter portion reads less like delusion now than actual, unbridled madness). All the same, the news of his passing today hurts like losing a long-time friend. Lindsey, a fellow Pratchett addict (and my preferred, extraordinary beta-reader), messaged me on the Facebook Messenger app with the news and I spent the better part of my workday trying to not get all weepy. Like I said: I never actually knew Sir Terry Pratchett the person, but I did get to know his books quite well, and so that is what I’d like to talk about. Continue reading

A carefully considered replacement post

Happy Tuesday (said no one ever). I’m still in the middle of a day long headache-a-thon, which is really fun because it’s fulfilling my life-long dream of feeling like someone is playing the drums on the inside of my skull. That’s the power of positivity, people (says the guy who tried to cure a monstrous headache with a two-hour nap that failed miserably).

On the plus side, there’s a new episode of Face Off tonight, and I’m already quite emotionally invested in this season. It’s also Taco Tuesday, a statement which translates to me going to Taco Bell and buying a big order of spicy regret (it’s a guilty pleasure I just can’t quit, people, and also I love Baja Blast too much). Lastly, I worked up the nerve to write my first fan letter! I put words to paper in what I hope is the least crazy way possible to thank Amy Poehler for writing Yes Please, which isn’t a book so much as a reasonably-priced treasure chest filled with wonderful things. Also, since I’m taking forever to write this: there was an episode of Gravity Falls waiting on the DVR, which made tonight even better.

This post was supposed to be about something else, actually, but then I decided that idea would better serve me as a short story…which means I had to switch gears. The fan-letter thing got me thinking, too. Here’s a fun story about fan-mail.

Once upon a time, I binge-read a bunch of books by Kurt Vonnegut. Breakfast of Champions was the gateway to Cat’s CradleSirens of Titan, and A Man Without a Country (I’ve not finished that one yet). I feel like I’ve read more by Vonnegut, but I also confess that his prose, while delightful and entertaining, had the ability to put me into a particularly dark and gloomy mindset. Probably because there was more than a measure of uncomfortable truth to everything he wrote.

One night, in a moment of bravery, I decided I would write Kurt Vonnegut a fan-letter to tell him how much I loved his writing and how I hoped to one day be as wonderful and beloved a writer as he is. The anxiety was very real; I could feel my heart yo-yoing between my chest and my throat. The cursor in Microsoft Word remained lonely, a blank page staring back at me in mockery of the fool’s errand I had embarked on. Instead, perhaps, I thought I would look up the address I would need to send this hopeless letter off to. A quick Google search later gave me multiple options, all viable, and some suggestions and criticisms about fan letters.

There also happened to be a shitload of articles about the life of Kurt Vonnegut, citing how he had passed away earlier that very day. I stared at the screen, a mix of heartbroken and shocked. In hindsight, my knee-jerk reaction was probably entirely appropriate. “Are you fucking kidding me?” I asked my computer, fully expecting a response.

I have since interacted with two of my favorite authors on Twitter (on multiple occasions, actually), and that’s been fun. There’s something about interacting with the people who inspire me that is probably far more thrilling than it should be.

Who do you folks idolize so much that you’ve sent them fan-mail/tweets/whatever? Any luck with responses? Was it terrifying, thrilling, or both?

There should have been more to this post, but I have the most vicious goddamned headache I’ve experienced in a while so I’m going to throw in the towel for the night. Apologies there.

 

In my less-than-famous opinion

Before this continues, I want to point out that this isn’t today’s installment towards One Hundred Days of Blogging 2.0, which should sound a touch insane as that means I’m deliberately making it a point to force myself to write two posts today. Few people have accused me of having particularly good ideas, however, so this makes sense. Moving along.

Actually, I lied. I think I will use this for today’s post and follow with the other, thematically appropriate idea anyway. Not sorry.

Something I can state as purely fact, with neither pride nor disappointment, is that I haven’t really read much of A Song of Ice and Fire. I usually hit a point in Game of Thrones where, despite loving fantasy novels and having read other titanic titles such as the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy (plus The Hobbit, before it became a trilogy), I become so supremely bored that reading another page borders on self-inflicted torture. There are plenty of people I know who absolutely love George R.R. Martin’s behemoth heptalogy, and there’s nothing wrong with that. The point I’m meandering toward here is that the most common complaint I hear from these A Song of Ice and Fire fans is that Martin is writing too slowly. That he’ll probably die before he finishes the series, given his advanced age and larger-than-average stature. Fans of Robert Jordan’s works who also enjoy A Song of Ice and Fire are probably already bracing for the worst. Oh, and then there’s the small matter of the Game of Thrones series on HBO having a strong chance of completing the series before the books can.

These criticisms aren’t exactly isolated, and apparently they aren’t welcomed by George R.R. Martin, especially those regarding his death.

Pictured: George R.R. Martin's response to suggestions he'll die before his books are finished. Or one very angry Santa Claus.

Pictured: George R.R. Martin’s response to suggestions he’ll die before his books are finished. Or one very angry Santa Claus.

Continue reading

Become your own hero

And other one-sentence platitudes straight from the School of Shallow-Thinking Drivel-Poop.

I jest.

A very big influence in my writing, which is the same very big thing that can be applied to most any artist and their works, is the works of authors I hold in very high regard. Pratchett, Gaiman, Moore, and so on. People who have written works (books, short stories, and anything else) that have left me wanting to create something just as amazing as what I’d just read. Writing with words blended in such a masterful way that I just had to sit down and get to my own creative processes. This is both a wonderful and treacherous thing as it makes creating a balancing act.

On one hand it would be very easy to follow in the footsteps of one or more of the previously mentioned writers, borrowing bits and pieces of their styles and voices as it suited me. I imagine, with the right level of effort and patience, such writing could yield a very strong end result that would read almost entirely (but not quite) like a work of my own hard labors. Continue reading

Problem-solving, and a terrific quote

I was big on problem-solving today. I had the choice to either face the problems that have accrued lately or just say the hell with it and let them crush me. I chose the former, of course.

The good that came of those solutions is that I won’t have to work fourteen days in a row, even though I still have a couple double-shifts. Such is life. I also decided I need a new bank after finding out the replacement debit card I requested after the business with my previous one getting stolen (the info was stolen, anyway) had never actually been ordered/sent out/whatever. That’s some pro-level incompetence right there.

Tomorrow will feature a post about picking your poison, in which I talk about bourbon and my choices of booze. Monday will focus on the difference betwee villains and antiheroes (no spoilers for that yet). For now I’d like to share aa great post Joe Lansdale, an author whose wisdom I was pointed to by Zachary T. Owen (a writer of remarkable skill and wisdom of his own). I’ve not read any books by Joe Lansdale, but I think that’s something I need to correct eventually. Eventually. Hoping you all, dear readers, are having a great weekend. You should like Joe Lansdale’s Facebook page, by the way, and check out his works (like my lazy, simple self needs to as well). I lay no claim to this Facebook post, obviously; it’s just some damn good food for thought.

One Hundred Days of Blogging – Day 42

I’m starting my morning off by enjoying a bowl of cereal while I read through the Spam comments that Phil’s Misadventures in Fiction has accrued recently. It’s oddly entertaining, although the spammers certainly do have nice things to say about my posts. Even if some of those kind words don’t really make a lot of sense from a grammatical standpoint.

Speaking of kind words: the professor I sent Joshua Harkin and the Wicked Nightmare King off to got back to me with his critique today. It’s not something I feel should be shared in its entirety on here, but I do have to say seeing the phrases “I thoroughly enjoyed it” and “you have great characters” really put a stupid grin on my face.

Meowiarty is hanging out with me while I type this, as he sat at my bedroom door and meowed until I let him in. He may be a touch spoiled, I’m willing to concede, but he behaves like a dog enough and I miss having dogs around…so by that reasoning it should be okay that he’s in here. Probably. I’ll remind myself of that when I’m cleaning cat hair out of my PC’s tower.

Naturally, today’s post will involve 42 in a way. Hopefully not too predictable a way, but we’ll see. Continue reading