Once again I will start National Novel Writing Month. I say start because I haven’t “won” since 2010. So it’s my tenth anniversary! I missed the last two years but I am giving it the ol’ college try again this year. It will be good to get back into a daily writing practice and if you are so inclined you can join me and be my one of my writing buddies!
If you don’t know what NaNoWriMo is I’ll briefly explain. It is an annual writing challenge to “write a 50,000 word novel” in one month. The timer starts at midnight of Halloween and goes until midnight of November 30th. In order to stay on pace you have to write 1667 words a day. It can be a daunting task. I know the year I “won” it took almost every free moment I had, and my wife was not happy at me. At all. I vowed I wouldn’t do that to her again, and I didn’t. And it really is about writing every day. 50k words is not really a novel either. That would qualify as a novella. The year I “won” I felt like I had written half a novel. it could be a series of short stories. Or essays. The entire point, again, is to write every day. Nobody is coming to your house to make sure you are following the “rules.” Jut have fun with it and write what you can. If it’s only a 100 words a day, then that is still 3000 words by the end of the month. And that is 3000 words more than you had before you started.
I use it to springboard a new story usually. Sometimes I take an old story out and try to add to it. I haven’t hit the 50k mark in a decade but this might be the year. If not that’s okay, too.
I haven’t drawn anything in quite awhile. I want to get back to doing pastel chalks, but was afraid I wasn’t up to the task, so I decided to start with a pencil drawing to warm up the skills. I really wanted to switch to pastel chalk with this one, since the colors are going to work well and there is lots of shading to do with them and the background will pop a lot when I finish it I hope. Time will tell. I did have fun working on this with my best friend working on a painting just across the room. I look forward to more of this in the future!
I am officially giving up the chase for an agent, at least for now. I have finished the edits for my manuscript and have sent it off to an editor for one last looksee. Then it’s getting published. I have the cover all done and will be doing a reveal in a few weeks. It should be done before the holidays so you can order the book for a loved one. I need to work out a signed edition. Lots more to come. Follow me on Goodreads here.
I’ve also added a popup for signups to my newsletter. I promise not to spam your inbox.
After twenty-eight years together, my wife passed away yesterday. I feel like I am living in the head of Legion, but without the godlike powers. But I had a really good blubbering cry this morning and it helped. A friend welcomed me to the world’s shittiest club. It’s certainly one of the shittiest. He lost his wife 13 years ago. Time heals, but the scars are still there.
I had never wanted a tattoo, but this morning I find myself wanting to get one. I actually asked for local advice on tattoo parlors and found a great one, but they are booked a year out. I am going on a road trip next week to visit family and my brother and his girlfriend are taking me to their tattoo artist. Should be interesting.
I am trying to write but my brain is still pickled in a fog. There will be more regular posts after this one as I prepare to publish my first book. More to follow on that. In the meantime enjoy a video from one of my favorite bands and the inspiration for my tattoo:
If you are wondering why I haven’t been posting lately, we have had some serious health issues that we continue to deal with. Two years ago my wife had a mastectomy. Six months ago we found out the cancer had come back. With a vengeance. My wife has been amazingly brave throughout the ordeal. I would not wish chemotherapy on my worst enemy. The fight continues, but my posting on here will be sporadic at best for the foreseeable future.
At first, I was taken aback by how short the stories were and they were priced like a novel. I was slightly miffed, but once I started listening to All Systems Red, I forgot about the cost and fell in like with Murderbot. The series is fun, and action packed, and Murderbot is a sarcastic crankypants filled with anxiety and social awkwardness, and I can’t get enough of it. I raced through the entire catalog in a matter of days and was excited to see the first novel length story was about to come out. The first story won the Hugo in the novella category this past year and it’s well deserved.
This from Martha Wells’ Newsweek interview:
Murderbot is a science fiction series, set in the very far future. The Murderbot character is a person who is called a construct—part robot, part human-cloned tissue. They’re called SecUnits and they were designed to be security, to protect people and be able to do the kind of dirty jobs people don’t want to do anymore.
This from the publisher:
Murderbot returns in its highly-anticipated, first, full-length standalone novel.
You know that feeling when you’re at work, and you’ve had enough of people, and then the boss walks in with yet another job that needs to be done right this second or the world will end, but all you want to do is go home and binge your favorite shows? And you’re a sentient murder machine programmed for destruction? Congratulations, you’re Murderbot.
Come for the pew-pew space battles, stay for the most relatable A.I. you’ll read this century.
SecUnit, as it is referred to by its handlers, is an introvert of the highest order. It goes out of its way to avoid human contact, especially face-to-face interaction. It has a hard time dealing with the pressure of eye contact. It refers to itself as Murderbot, originally designed to work as a security robot to protect humans, but really it has a soft mushy center that cares, but has trouble admitting it.
It has managed to hack its governor module, and now operates on its own volition, trying to navigate its way through human society, protecting its clients, while at the same time avoiding them and not letting on that it is controlling its own destiny. What it would rather be doing is watching serial vids, but things just keep getting in the way. Its clients keep getting into life-threatening trouble and despite itself it goes to the rescue.
In Network Effect we revisit one of Murderbots associates, it wouldn’t say friends, it would say mutual administrative assistance, a ship AI it calls ART, Asshole Research Transport. ART is also snarky as hell and the banter between them is priceless. They are more human than some people I know. I was very happy to spend more time with Murderbot in a longer story, that gave Wells a chance to really get into the head of the lovable killing machine. Wells is an anthropologist and it shows in the character development. The story moves at a fast clip for most of these, and the tech is always surprisingly believable. The fight scenes are all amazing and tight. But the best thing about these stories is simply spending time with the antisocial bot.
Kevin R. Free reads for Audible and he kills it. His pacing an intonation are on the money. He embodies Murderbot perfectly.
The writing on this show is fantastic. It is seriously funny, perfectly cast and really hits the feels in just the right way.
In the near future you can upload your consciousness to a virtual reality that is still interactive with the living to some degree. But it ain’t free. And our protagonist is in for a ride when his wealthy fiance funds his account. I can’t wait for season two!
It’s my first published work. My story opens the anthology. Tom Babbage is the newest faculty member at Harrowgate Valley University and a visit from an FBI agent starts him on a path to uncover mysterious happenings on the campus and the disappearance of his mother, the Dean of the English Department.
The other writers are all friends of mine and are all exceptional writers. Here are links to their websites: