Progress to the tune of small nervous breakdowns

Short version of an update from yesterday: I saw a cover band named Velveeta last night, indulged in a fair bit of alcohol consumption, and didn’t go to bed until an ungodly hour. Let’s not talk of this again.

My new novel-project is coming along nicely, which is good. I can’t turn that into a negative. Believe me, I’ve tried. It’s getting positive feedback so far from my beta-reader(s). There could be some level of bias there, but I also accept that these are people who I can trust because they would cautiously and kindly let me know if my writing is turning into garbage.

There may have also been mention at some point from someone–someone who happens to be me–about eventually wanting to send something to HarperCollins for publication consideration. I would have to research it, find out what all goes into such a challenge, and then make it happen. The goal wasn’t publication, but an attempt. Even a rejection would be fantastic, as it would indicate I’ve met a goal. I can also say, completely devoid of any doubts, that if I did get accepted (that if is so big that there are now billboards along major highways advertising it as a tourist attraction) I would probably have a multi-week meltdown as I processed the greatest success of my adult life. Let’s also not dwell on that.

Short version: HarperCollins does not accept any unsolicited anythings. Ever. That much I guessed even going into this, but I figured I would look into it anyway because sometimes my delusions of grandeur take on a life of their own and go crazy. This was one such time. They do, however, also have a link to a web site called Authonomy. Curiosity got the better of me, as it should in this situation, and I clicked the link. Continue reading

Sanity-Recovery Saturday

Just when you all thought you were safe from my horrible love of alliterative titles, here we are. This is typically what Saturday posts should look like for Hundred Days of Self-Imposed Suffering 2.0, but I got caught up in my earlier post and so this became secondary. It works out because writing that post was surprisingly relaxing, which is sort of the point of Saturdays.

Except the ones I also happen to work. Those aren’t redeemable.

Sundays are for reflecting on how much of a fiasco I managed to turn the previous week into, and so I’m choosing to prepare for the next week by relaxing on Saturday. A little writing, a little reading, some TV, and maybe some meditation. That last one hasn’t happened in a while. My sanity needs to be repaired occasionally, if not for me then for the folks who read this mess. I’d rather not end up letting a blog post loose on the world that could look like my version of any celebrity’s very public mental breakdown. Nobody needs that.

Today has consisted of the following distractions:

  •  Reading more of In Some Other World, Maybe, which is quickly turning into one of my best whim purchases I’ve made at Barnes & Noble in a long while (a review is doomed to happen eventually, once I finish the book).
  • Making adjustments to Unnamed Novel-Project based on suggestions provided by the ever-helpful, ever-brilliant Lindsey, who is one of the beta-readers who helped fuel my madness as I wrote what was Joshua’s Nightmares at the time before it evolved into Joshua Harkin and the Novel-Length Book Title.
  • I spent time with two of my adorable
  • I treated Brianne and myself to McDonald’s. Don’t judge, damn it. It’s garbage-food, but sometimes I can enjoy garbage-food without too much self-loathing and gastrointestinal distress to follow.
  • I watched two stand-up comedy specials. Aziz Ansari and Patton Oswalt. If the walls of a house absorbed the words thrown around near them, my living room would be saturated with expletives and Hobbit-related self-deprecation. Let’s add Nick Offerman to that collection, as now I’m watching him on Netflix as well.
  • Apparently I’m going to a bar for some sort of concert-thing tonight.
  • Regardless of if I drink at said bar, I see a glass of scotch in my future. Single-malt, eighteen-year-old Glenlivet. It’s the most expensive bottle of liquor that I barely paid for that I own, and frankly I think one of the main ingredients is refined unicorn tears.
  • More writing to follow, because I need to make up for being a hilarious failure with progress this past week.

And now I’m going to return to writing because I’ve reached a point where I don’t feel like the writing process with this story is similar to trying to sprint through a bog with giant weights chained to my limbs. Have a delightful Saturday, folks.

Lady Ghostbusters won’t actually ruin your childhood

Good evening, readers. And people who happened to click a link to this post while trying to scroll on smart phones, tablets, and other touchscreen devices designed for such misclicks. Welcome to the first of undoubtedly many Throwdown Thursdays, which is a thing I came up with instead of making Throwback Thursday happen on my blog. I avoid posting old pictures of myself because they’ve been known to cause irreversible blindness, but if I were into that sort of thing I would post them on whatever day of the damn week I want.

The purpose of Throwdown Thursday posts is to pick a topic–preferably a relatively relevant one–and…basically rant a bit. I can’t justify dolling up the point of these posts when they’re actually just therapeutic venting with a chance someone else might read it.

I’ll admit that I was really torn on tonight’s subject. Commenting on how people being shocked by snow in January is actually the most shocking part of winter was a close front-runner. That changed when I saw the reactions to the cast reveal for the Ghostbusters reboot. It’s like someone filled a garbage bag with highly concentrated crazy, held it over the Internet, and tore it open in response to the news of who would be the leading ladies of this brave new version of a Hollywood treasure. Before I even dare leap into the bulk of me losing my mind over just how ridiculous this non-issue is, let’s take a look at what the problem is. What group of B-list, no-named losers did Paul Feig cobble together for this terrible, sad knock-off again? Continue reading

Something alliterative involving Tuesday

I haven’t even written a Tuesday post and I already changed my mind on what Tuesday’s posts are going to involve. That sounds like a strong indication of how quickly this misadventure is going to devolve into shenanigans.

To settle this problem, while giving myself enough room to turn Tuesday into a blend of whatever-I-want posts, I’m going to call Tuesday posts Topical Humor Tuesdays for now. Make a note of that for when I invariably change it to something different next week. And the week after. Moving on.

A note added after the post was finished: it turned out more like Tirade Tuesday, but I’m not admitting defeat just yet because there is some topical humor involved (damn it).

Any of you who follow me on Twitter (Anyone? No? Ah well.) are familiar with my tendency to live-tweet things. Sometimes while also some degree of intoxicated. There’s nothing, I’ve found, more enjoyable to drunk live-tweet along with than awards shows, and there’s no award show more fun to drunkenly live-tweet alongside than The Academy Awards (aka The Oscars aka The Awards Show for People Who Can’t Pronounce Names). It’s a huge night for the who’s who of Hollywood, presumably after many weeks of actors and actresses practicing their best I-can’t-believe-I-won faces in the mirror.

No offense meant to Kristen Wiig, a comedy treasure. This just happened to be one of the first results for "surprised celebrity".

No offense meant to Kristen Wiig, a comedy treasure (who, thankfully, will never see this post). This just happened to be one of the first results for “surprised celebrity”.

Continue reading

Hibernation season has arrived

At some point, through some cruel twist of fate, it has officially become winter. I know. Shocking that the weather has taken a turn for the cold and disappointing in January of all months. Today was the first day of my favorite multi-month event, the Fishtailing of the Cars. My lovely little black Toyota handles snow pretty well in the sense that it usually doesn’t go three different directions I don’t want it to before correcting its course.

I had a post planned about how things didn’t go quite according to plan in regards to my more writing, more reading, less naps, etc., plan, but there’s something about this weather that makes me want to curl up underneath a thousand blankets deep within a pillow-fort (note to self: find a way to build a pillow-fort that incorporates the TV; only leave the living room for food and bathroom use) and slumber until the first signs of summer are upon us. It’s supposed to be eight degrees or less tomorrow, which is at least twenty degrees colder than should ever be acceptable.

The bigger problem, at least for me, isn’t the cold or the snow, or even my inability to cope with weather conditions I’ve been exposed to my whole life living in Pennsylvania (the keystone to the frozen wastes of Northrend). No. My biggest conundrum is how this cold weather, with its oppressive chill, saps me of any energy to really use anywhere (beyond the aforementioned cover-cocooning).  It becomes a vicious cycle of frustration over not accomplishing much only to realize that it’d be a lot easier to meet goals if I didn’t feel borderline comatose thanks to trudging through this dreadful cold to and from work…all ten feet of parking lot that I need to walk, at any rate.

However, that’s not to say I don’t realize I need to brew up some tea or cocoa (or perhaps just a hot toddy, but probably not since I want to actually be coherent while writing), sit my partially-frozen ass down, and get back to writing. I’ve got a notebook of ideas, more notebooks practically begging for ideas, and a relatively new Moleskine pen that is powerful enough to make me push past my typical distaste for handwritten notes and the likes.

To my fellow creative types, in whatever partially iced-over dwellings you find yourselves in: how are you coping with this polar vortex horseshit? What tricks and tactics are working best to help keep the creativity thawed?

Social media brings out the weirdness in people

I may have lied a little about the planned posts, if only because inspiration struck and I’m prone to whim decisions the same way my cats are prone to napping on tables despite being told tables are for glasses and not for kitten asses. Oh well.

There are plenty of commentaries on social media, and I’m almost entirely certain I’ve written posts on the topic before.

Let me make something entirely clear before I continue: I am by no means a master of social media, nor do I always behave according to whatever arbitrary guidelines are set-up to dictate the best ways to Tweet, Facebook, and so on. At no point have I, or will I ever out of self-respect and not being able to take such things seriously, claimed to be a social media guru (or maven or expert or whatever). Twitter is fun, it provides me with a platform to interact with other artists, and I’ve met some pretty awesome people thanks to it. I also live-tweet entirely too many shows far too often, but let’s not talk about that here. Continue reading

Justifiable character homicide?

There are few easier ways to really tug at a reader’s heart-strings than by killing off one of their favorite characters. It’s a pretty common practice, and something any fan of Game of Thrones is far too familiar with: the sudden, perhaps unexpected offing of a beloved character, or a not-so-beloved character. The important difference here is that loved or loathed, these now-deceased fictional folks had names and families. Above all else, they had plot relevance, and so such deaths are tailored to have tremendous impact. It could be to push the plot forward, to give a protagonist that extra push towards heroic deeds, a means by which to turn a could-be villain into a fully-fledged monster, or a number of things.

Regardless, there are an awful lot of characters who seem to be marching right into the grave. It raises a curious question for writers, really. When, if at all, is it really necessary to kill off one of your darlings? At what point does such a play cheapen the story instead of strengthening it? Are there worse things for characters than death? Continue reading