Thursday, December 3, 2009

He Lives! He Laughs! kind of...

So, I pretty much fell off the map. October was a tough month, and November was an adventure. Steamfest Atlanta was asking for submissions to be turned into staged readings at next year's event. I was having a lot of trouble coming up with ideas. Short-stories are typically a weak-point with me. I have a world-builder's mind so I want to explain all the nuances, history, backgrounds of characters, etc, which just isn't always necessary. It's been clear in previous places to which I've submitted short stories as well. Again, I do make it out of the slush pile, but after the third time you hear "That was pretty good, but it's pretty clear you kind of hamstrung yourself. Try writing something longer," you sort of want to stab yourself in the face with a spoon.

Anyway, my original idea consisted of a young woman, a bit of a rebel at heart, visiting an eccentric uncle. Kind of a murder mystery. The idea was definitely solid, but as I continued with the piece, I was finding myself referencing a lot more props, effects and other things that were seemingly necessary. The convention in question is small and still growing, so it just didn't seem appropriate to approach it with something (even a short something) that required quite so much work, when they were looking for multiple submissions to present as one or two act, short plays. So, at 2:30 in the morning on day of the deadline - I decided to stop and start over with something else.

I'm happy to say I successfully came up with something within the length criterion that's funny and will hopefully be entertaining. It concerns three airship captains who happen to meet at a bar. Two are old friends and talk of times past, one is a new guy with his own sense of what it means to be a captain. I tried to blend a little wit and humor with a bit of a twist ending and I think I managed to do so. It's also very low on props and really doesn't need anything at all in terms of effects, so I hoping it will be easy to present. I'll find out if it was accepted at the end of February.

The next step I need to take in terms of my writing is onto to some horror. I happened to meet someone at work who knows folks who do the horror thing. He's an artist who created a huge image of Ctuhulu represented as the 'Evolution of Man' - from squiddy to full blown Ctuhulu. He's been to several conventions and sold the hell out of the prints, so, he knows some circles in which he could pass around my writing. I don't have or do much in terms of horror. I've done a gore piece or two, but I prefer the psychological thriller and that just takes a while to write effectively. I've had plenty of other stuff on my plate, so it took a backseat. The piece I have in mind to give him deals with an old question in the Sci-Fi community: what the hell is happening to your soul when you teleport? Does it travel with you, or are you soulless copy of yourself afterward? I'm not the biggest Lovecraft fan; he was a racist and had a very low opinion of aboriginal peoples, but so was Ghandi (yes, really - look it up) and the peopl he'd be passing it around to are very pro-Lovecraft, so I'll take my stab at writing a Lovecraftian tale and keep my mouth shut.

Outside of writing, I've been asked to help teach a group of Capoeristas in the area. Their regular instructor will be out of town for a while handling personal issues, so they've managed to find a few folks (including me) who can make it to classes and help instruct. Needless to say, I've been sore for weeks. Thankfully work has been okay with keeping my schedule open enough to make me available a day a week to do so. I've also been asked to do another talk on Eastern Philosophy, specifically Taoism. Since college I've done talks on the subject on an off and thus far everyone has been pleased. I'm enjoying the practice and look forward to doing more with it in the future. I'm also in the running to do a talk at a regional convention up north on Steampunk in Literature. It's small con and hoping Steampunk will help revive sluggish/waning attendance numbers. It'll be fun, and I may get the opportunity to see some Bartitsu (gentlemanly form of combat from the mid to late 19th century) from a proper sort of practitioner. Yeesh, busy, busy, busy...

Also - I'm reading Boneshaker by Cherie Priest. I'll talk about it soon..I hope, heh.

Friday, August 28, 2009

New Project

So, the Steampunk convention we attended earlier this year has invited us back. I'm not entirely sure if I'll be running another panel or not. As much as I would love to, we'll see how the chips fall and if there's space for me. However, they've decided to do a writers showcase/contest of a sort and I've been invited to participate. I'm kind of nervous and excited about the opportunity. I don't necessarily want to win, but the idea of my stuff making through the 'slush pile' to a staged reading would be quite nice. I've never had my work presented in such a fashion.

Ultimately, it's the age old adage - 'shit, or get off the pot'. I've stalled out on my own writing due to work constraints going on between myself and the wife, but it's really a thin excuse. I've become preoccupied once again with trying to gather more information, read other people's work, do more research, flesh things out, etc. I end up spinning in place all under the guise of amassing more of what I need to continue writing. As if the words aren't already in my head. Well, they're not, but you get the gist (is that how you actually spell that word?).

Anyway, the piece for the convention is going to be short. Just about 10 pages, which I assume should put me in the 4,000-7,000 word range or something like that. I've got a couple of ideas in mind, certainly some different avenues. I'll see what shakes out.

Friday, August 14, 2009


Yikes. A lot is going on. The wife is potentially about to go into a triple-stacked employment situation. I'm also going like gangbusters with the writing, despite the fact that I've slowed up a bit. My word count is my word count, but depth of the characters has really begun to develop. I'm trying to stay away from flat characterization attached to two-dimensional background, i.e. just a series of things that happened to them yesterday, the day before, and the day before, yadda yadda yadda.

I'm likin' the new job, still adjusting. Though, the gods do bless me. I got to work with an awesome geek-girl at the last job, now I get to work with another one. A Whedonite, at that.

Oh yeah, after a year of dutifully hauling me in and out of the North Georgia 'mountains', the truck's clutch system kicked. It hurts. A lot. But, yay for in-town jobness and a city transit system. It's actually been quite nice to take the bus. I get to walk about a mile's worth of varying hilly terrain, and get work about an hour early, which means I'm catching up on my reading. The bus passes are a bit more expensive than I had hoped, but lots of friends have been willing to give me rides at various times, so it's been fairly worth it thus far. And boy-oh-boy do you get a glimpse at a slice life riding the bus.

On a personal note, getting more into Krav Maga on the martial arts front. Teaching the wife some Muy Thai and the basics of KM. Tai Chi is going well, though I'm mixing Chen and Yang style quite readily. We've been walking 2-3 miles 3-5 times a week as well. I've been doing tons of push-ups and sit-ups, too. I'm slowly, but surely, working myself back into a state of physical fitness. I pretty much have to if I expect to get back on the ball with Capoeira and actually start advancing. Blegh.

I could keep rambling at length, but I'll choose to quit now. Leave some for later or something, heh.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Been a while...

Yeowch. I just got a look at how long it's been since I updated this thing. My bad.

I've made the transition to the new job. I no longer work for one big-chain book-retailer, I work for the other one. :) And yes, they're precisely the hippies I thought they were. All-in-all, I like my job. I didn't realize how much I missed regular book-retail and how much pressure and awkwardness there was in the world of textbooks. I definitely feel a lot more productive on a day-to-day basis and am happy to be back in a situation where I feel I have much more knowledge and control of what's going on around me. Granted, Corporate is Corporate and the Corporation has its ways; ways which confused and frustrate even the best of us.

On the writing front, I'm at 44,500 words. My 50,000 personal word mark is in sight and I kind of want to drop everything and claw at it like a madman until I reach it. Ah well, c'est la guerre. The story is going well, but I continue to add and remove entire chunks of plot. It's kind of crazy, but the basic premise seems to be the same. The issue I'm running in to right now is som eof the construction of the world. I love SteamPunk. It's something I sincerely want to write about, but I do not want to do it from a Londoner's perspective. Part of the reason for that is because I'm not a Londoner and I have only literary and historical reference for what Victorian England was like. It's a wondergul genre, but it's focus on that is..somewhat disheartening. I would really like to take it to the West, with our wild, cowboy mis-givings and see what I can do with it. I dunno. I'll eventually figure something out.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Hermit Crabs and Brain Meat

First off - 28,000 words of the first draft in the bag. The sound you hear in the background would be my balls dragging on the ground. By the end of the year, I'll be done and ass-deep in rewrites/revisions.

So, the wife thoroughly surprised me today (you would never know that I *always* misspell the word 'surprise' the first time around - thank you auto-spellcheck feature). She built me a website on WordPress. I know, right? Freakin' sweet! So yeah, 'll be updating both there and here for a while. (

Why both blogs, do you ask? Blogspot seems easier to use and frankly, I'm kinda slow when it comes to certain things. I need to get somewhat used to this. Seriously, I can speak some Chinese, Japanese and Russian, can be yelled at in the most mutilated French you can manage, and keep myself from being shot in the face during a botched robbery in any romance language. But, tell me to figure out the current state of computer web programming languages and I'm gonna give you the sad bottom lip until you stop torturing me. So, I'll be hacking through WordPress and I'll figure it out eventually (yay for youtube tutorials!) .

Stuff like this has made me more and more aware of my personal intelligence these days. It's been questioned by several people. For good or ill, I'll take it for what it is - the universe asking me what's going on with all that.

In short, I'm not really sure. Sometimes I feel dumb, real dumb. It comes from being a jock that hangs around geeks. I have degree in International Politics with extensive experience in so-called 'critical languages', so I'm not exactly hurting for brainmeats - but I had trouble following the directions to put an IKEA bookshelf together properly. A credit to the Sweds, though, the damned Frankenstein thing is 4 years old and still holds true.

So, I've spent like an hour trying to type and re-type all kinds of theories and responses about questioning myself, but in short, I basically seem to be trying to justify my own intelligence or lack there of. That isn't healthy. I'll think on the subject and post a better response sometime.

Also, it's Father's Day. I'm the proud birth father of one cute little boy and one cute little girl. We adopted out for various reasons, but it's an open situation and we'll definitely be a part of their lives. In fact, me and the wife will be visiting them this summer. Yay!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


The convention went well. Buddha Belly managed to do some good business but, more importantly, we got our name out there and made a few new friends.

The Steampunk rendition of 'The Tempest' was absolutely awesome. We're hoping it moves forward into full production one day. We'll be in the front row on opening night. I think it's kind of neat that it went over so well. Especially, considering the fact that I wear a quote from the original play around my neck on a pendant.

My panel on Steampunk in Literature went well. I hoped so. I stayed up until after 3am the night before making sure I had enough notes. In the end, like I tend to, I ended up bouncing around subjects. I got compliments, though. I'll take them all with a smile.

Today, I broke the 24,000 word mark. I'm proud of myself. The KinkyHausFrau is proud, too. Of course, as soon as she said that I'm a writer well into my 1st draft, I tell her I want 25,000 words before I buy into myself being a real writer. Maybe 30,000. Artists are their own toughest critics.

I have absolutely no idea how many words this story will end up being, but the pieces are working together. I'm enjoying fostering the growth of my characters. I've already watched some of them come and go, I've added and subtracted a lot. I've even killed particular story arcs. It was worth it, because it gave other branches more room to grow.

Thus far, someone who was originally a type of lackey has become the main antagonist. I'll enjoy showing a villain in deeper shades of gray. It's not all cut and dry - good guy, bad guy. There are people who are doing things you don't mind and people doing things that you do mind. If you mind, you get involved. Plain and simple, but it doesn't make them bad.

I'm digging the fae character I have. And I'm trying not to let the species of the characters overshadow the story or the characters themselves. Their supernatural natures are a part of them, but not their focus. Even the Alpha Wolf has a mortgage to attend to.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Atlanta Steampunk Steamfest

Atlanta Steamfest 2009

Kay, so the Steamfest is on for this weekend at the Academy Theater in Atlanta. You know you want to be there. There will be two readings of a steampunk rendition of Shakespeare's The Tempest, we'll be doing high tea, a steampunk parade, basic corset-making, improv, steam-music, and everything else a mini-fest can manage to pull off in two days.

The wife will be pushing all kinds of steampunk books as a vendor. I'll be running a panel on Steampunk in Literature from 3-4pm. It will be a fairly in depth historical synopsis of the movement from it's basis in the 'Edisonades' of the mid to late 19th century on through the actual movement beginning in the 70s. It will also include a discussion of noteworthy and contemporary authors along with their writings in how they've all come to, and continue to, shape the genre. It'll be riveting, I assure you.

After the event, I'll list whatever inventory we may have remaining to see if anyone might be interested in it. I'll also probably end up posting a synopsis of what I go over in the panel; 'cuz honestly, can you ever really know enough about niche little subculture literary movements? I think not.

Also - 20,000 words of my first novel in the bag. Base.