While walking back to the Spring Shelter at Pokagon State Park, I encountered my wife with a fella named Fred. Good thing too, because I would have made a wrong turn if she hadn't pointed the way, and the right way was still a half mile hike. Fred is the saddle barn's only mule:




That photo posted on Instagram at the time, but for some reason Blogger has never updated its app, and it usually crashes when I try to post from my phone (although a previous post I thought didn't go actually posted twice).

I'd planned to work out of the car while she was on the job (I'm revising Beowulf: In Harm's Way). But it was a beautiful day, so I decided to walk the to the Spring Shelter even though I'd already hiked almost four miles earlier in the day. It's in a wooded area along the saddle trail and usually quiet, except for the people who go there with empty containers, for the spring water. They've quite literally piped it right out of the ground.



Since I was carrying a leather case with my laptop, iPad, and my ancient iPod, I checked the weather forecast first: No rain predicted. Then I looked at the weather radar: No rain in the region. So I got there, laid my stuff out, and was engrossed in revisions about an hour later when big drops started falling on the keyboard

Just a brief shower to remind me I'm not in charge. And, after all, the Spring Shelter includes ... wait for it ... a shelter. At least I could see the clouds that were the source of my torment; and when I checked the radar, sure enough, there were the showers popping up. Not like last week, where it started raining on my while I mowed the lawn -- despite the fact that there wasn't a single cloud overhead.



Just goes to show, there's no such thing as a perfect writing spot.
ozma914: new novel cover art by Kelly Martin (Default)
( Sep. 30th, 2016 05:25 pm)
Writers have seasons. Often it’s the season of our discontent.
It’s revision and editing season for me—which is nowhere near as much fun as writing season, but more fun than submission season. Submission season is like living in International Falls, Minnesota during winter, only without the certainty that spring will someday arrive.
But it’s been productive, and kept me away from politics on the internet.
I made numerous revisions to Coming Attractions, most suggested by the editor who last rejected the manuscript, and it’s definitely better for it.  I did not make the major revision they suggested. That means I can’t resubmit to them, but I can still chalk it up as kind of a free editorial service. The glass is half full.
Meanwhile, I’d thought I was mostly done with Beowulf: In Harm’s Way, a science fiction story that may, or may not, be space opera. (There are violent disagreements over the definition.) I started out to just check the polished manuscript for mistakes, and discovered it wasn’t so very as polished, after all.
When a writer puts a manuscript away for a while and then comes back to it, all sorts of problems will pop up that were invisible in the heat of the moment. (Summer?) That was the case here, and I spent weeks revising. Now I need to polish and check for mistakes yet again, then give it to someone else who will, no doubt, find still more mistakes.
Then will come … submission season. However, that’s better than promotion season. Sometimes, during promotion season, I feel as if I’m standing in the middle of a quiet residential area in the middle of the night, screaming my lungs off. You want to attract interest, not annoyance.
Well, life is less bland when it’s seasoned.
ozma914: new novel cover art by Kelly Martin (Default)
( Mar. 25th, 2015 06:46 am)
I started out to add a short scene to my space opera story, and ended up creating a new character and writing 1,850 words. Sometimes my mind just runs with it.

My sinus headache seems to be morphing into a rare migraine, so just a quick update: I’ve finished the third draft of my space opera story (working title Beowulf: In Harm’s Way), and Emily’s about half finished checking the first Slightly Off the Mark book, which we’re hoping to have out in April.

The space opera story is only about 55,500 words, and the humor book around 40,000. I think shorter is better with non-fiction humor, but what do you think of that length for science fiction? My novels tend to be short (and my short stories tend to run long!)

            In all the fuss over the early release of The Notorious Ian Grant, I forgot to update you about work on the rough draft of my “space opera” story. I’m happy to say that, after the much-needed stress relief of a few marathon writing sessions, the initial draft of Beowulf: In Harm’s Way is finished.

 

            It’s 55,000 words of pure … roughness, and I’m sure it’ll be at least a few thousand words longer by the time I’m finished. Just for the heck of it, I thought I’d share the first moments of the opening scene, which takes place on the United Planets warship CS-214—a craft so small the crew has to name it themselves.

 

            Now, on to the second draft. And the third, fourth, fifth ….

 

 ###

 

            A red light shone out on the shuttle's control board.

            Commander Paul Gage leaned forward, his hands still on the little craft's controls. “What did I do?”

            Beside him, Kurt Biermann shook his head. “Nothing, Skipper—that's a comm alert from the bridge.”

            “Well, that's damned inconvenient when I'm trying to get certified as a shuttle pilot.” Thank goodness they were parked in his ship’s shuttle bay, running a simulation. Gage couldn't remember flying anything since … since the incident.

            The real pilot chuckled. “You know, a ship's captain doesn't have to know how to fly a shuttle. Since I'm usually up at the helm, I'm the one who should be practicing down here.”

            “I ordered cross-training, so I cross-train.” Gage punched the comm button. Lt. Biermann, who no doubt hadn't expected to train anyone while running a shakedown cruise in a ship with only forty-two crewmembers, looked relieved.

            Damage control stations, all hands, we have a fire in engineering. This is not a drill.”

            While Gage pushed the shuttle's door open and leaped out, he noticed Lt. Biermann no longer looked relieved.

            Summer update: I haven’t been online much, because I’m both having fun and being miserable.

            It turns out those things are not exclusive. I’m on vacation, and when someone goes on vacation during the summer they need to be outside, where the vacation-y stuff is. We especially had fun the first week, when Emily and I took the grandkids to, among other places, Science Central in Fort Wayne and Black Pine Animal Sanctuary. We’ve also done some trail walking and camping (photos to follow).

 

            Also, I started physical therapy on my tendonitis. The therapist said I needed to cut back on keyboarding as much as possible, and there’s where the irony kicked in: I probably would have had medical instructions to take a week or so off work … but I was already on vacation. So at least my sick days are saved.

 

            But I could do some typing, so I had to decide between hanging around on the internet or writing. Guess what I chose? Even though I went back and did some revision on my SF story Beowulf: In Harm’s Way (because revision doesn’t take as much typing), I’m still up to 30,000 words on the story. I also did some plot changes that make me very happy—I love it when adding something in early on leads me to a great plot twist idea for later in the book.

 

            It also takes my mind off the pain. On a related note, kids: Don’t get hurt to begin with. Because, apparently, the only way to stop the pain is with much more pain.

I put aside the Slightly Off The Mark book and am going to concentrate on Beowulf: In Harms Way, which I'm up to 17,000 words on. Why? Because it's my vacation, doggone it. Slightly Off The Mark, being an adaption of columns already written, involves a great deal of organizing, formatting, editing, and revising, and only a little new writing. Rough drafts of fiction are more fun (to me). But I don't expect it'll take too long to finish the first draft, then it's back to the column book.
ozma914: mustache Firefly (mustache)
( Mar. 9th, 2014 03:55 pm)

            My working title for the Girl Scout story will be “No Campfire, Girls”, which is certainly better than the “Burning Brownies” that someone suggested!

 

            Meanwhile, the working title of my “space opera” novella, which is flirting with becoming a novel, is: “Beowulf: In Harm’s Way”. Or possibly The Beowulf: In Harm’s Way”, since that’s the name of a ship.

.

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