Join me for NaNoWriMo!

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!

Here is my NaNoWriMo page: Kardaen

Here is their official announcement on Twitter

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 hope you join me and good luck!

Getting the Pencil Back in Shape

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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!

Eff Cancer

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.

The Secrets of Harrowgate Valley

harrowgate 5Dive into the world of Harrowgate Valley University, where not everything is as it seems on the surface. This shared world anthology features eight tales of secrets, scholarship, and the paranormal.

The Secrets of Harrowgate Valley: A Shared World Anthology

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:

Sheri Queen – Author of the Sleepy Hollow Hunter series

Traci Douglass – USA Today Best-selling Author 

Carrie Gessner – Editor of the Anthology and Author of the Heartfriends Trilogy

K.W. Taylor – Multi-genre Author of Sam Brody series and Jonson’s Exotic Travel Series

I hope you will take a look.

 

Submission Anxiety

This is not a new thing. I’ve been through this twice before and was entirely unsuccessful. So, it’s created a cringy moment for me every time I see that I have mail in “that” inbox. I expect a “no thanks” and it is kind of crazy that it is giving me so much anxiety. To be fair “so much anxiety” for me is just a little more than your everyday getting through a humdrum day level of anxiety. My wife and kids suffer from anxiety disorder, so they know it much more intimately than I do, but nonetheless it is surprising.

My son tells me he is that way for any email. Even though he knows he may have important info in there he hates getting that ping.

I remember back in the old days of America Online and that little voice that told you, “You have mail.” It was a cool thing. Subbing has kind of ruined that feeling for me.

I have it out to a dozen agents and one publisher and have already got “no thanks” from two, which, good for them, it was super fast. I appreciate that.

I know how things are. I know I have to level up my game, and I have. I expect to get a yes this time, but even saying that I still cringe every time I see that I have a response. I want it, but my track record thus far has ingrained in me an expectation of rejection.

My mentor from my MFA program told me to sub each manuscript until I got a hundred rejections. The problem I personally have is finding that many agents that represent science fiction. I have around 90 on my list. I keep looking and hoping. I know it only takes one, “Yes.”

I would love to hear your submissions stories.

A Perfect Film to Watch During This Pandemic

The_Guernsey_Literary_and_Potato_Peel_Pie_Society

Theatrical Release Poster

My wife had heard about the film, actually has the book, and had read part of it. It got great reviews and is playing currently on Netflix. It’s The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I know the title sounds pretentious, but I had a visceral reaction to the story, as a writer, and as a person going through the pandemic with the rest of the world. The story really puts things in perspective. When considering what the people of Guernsey, and much of the rest of Europe, went through, having to live with the Nazi occupation and seeing loved ones killed with little regard for life, it made sitting on my couch, eating too much as I quarantine, or having to wear a mask in public seem like very little to ask.

The story takes place mainly in 1947 in the aftermath of WWII. A successful British writer, Juliet Ashton, played by Lily James, gets a letter from a man in Guernsey, Dawsey Adams, played by Michiel Huisman of Game of Thrones fame, because he found her address in one of the books their literary club had read. The club itself emerged from a confrontation with Nazi night watch when they were returning from a get together to eat forbidden pork and drink homemade gin. Drunk and terrified, the name of their club came out of desperation to cover their tardiness in getting home under curfew. They literally lied to save their lives, but as a result the literary club was registered and had to be continued with a Nazi chaperon. At least for a short time, until he gets bored with their meetings, where they read and dissected literary works.

The Juliet is intrigued by the notion of their club and decides to invite herself down for a visit. There she meets the member of the club, minus one, the instigator of the club, Elizabeth McKenna, played by Jessica Brown Findlay, had been arrested a few years before hand and nobody has heard anything about her since. Juliet wants to write a piece for the London Times about the group, but they are extremely reticent, and it starts her down a path to find out why. There are several side stories that add conflict, including her engagement back in London to a Major in the US Army, and a young girl, being raised by Dawsey, that is the daughter of the missing Elizabeth. The story is wonderfully written and really sucked me in from start to finish. I am a sucker for a good love story and ultimately that is what this is. A love story wrapped in a mystery, with all the bells and whistles that would make a writer absolutely love this tale.

The four of the actors are veterans of Downtown Abbey, the two female leads and the motherly figure of the group, and Juliet’s literary agent, played by Mathew Goode, who is incredible in everything he does. The entire cast is wonderful. My wife and I really connected with the story on many levels and things like this just refresh our love for each other, as pithy as that might sound.

I cannot express enough how perfect this film is to watch right now.

Alternate Reality

I  don’t know about you but life feels surreal right now.

Pretty much everything is cancelled. My daughters opera slated for next month is cancelled. All the schools here are online only until further notice.

No sports, of any kind, except . . . except Virtual Sports. Could this spark something new? All those out of work sports reporters need something to do.

cornonaprepper

I’m listening to Karl Schroeder‘s newest book, Stealing Worlds. People can disappear in the LARP game worlds, into the alternate economy of Notchcoin and blockchains. The people who build the games also program the surveillance networks. It’s s Deep State thriller that deals with a lot of virtual and mixed reality stuff. Combined with what is happening across the world right now it has really got me feeling like we are in the first stages of Schroeder’s world.

 

My imagination has been working overtime, and I can see a world where virtual sports really take off, online worlds thrive. Why? Because you can do it in the comfort of your fortress at home. I wonder about the implications of social distancing. If this virus threat continues for months and months it could have a lasting impact on how we live for years to come. If I had the money I would be investing in online ventures and delivery services.

I hope you are doing well. Keep washing your hands.

What the Fluxx?

FluxxMy eldest son has a degree in game design. (he is very talented and looking for work if you are hiring.) He loves games of all types. One of his coworkers introduced him to a game called Fluxx and he liked it enough to buy it. We played it Saturday night and I have to say it’s one of the funnest games I’ve played in years.

It’s a card game. The goals and rules change throughout the game, guaranteeing that every game will be distinctly different. The rules are on the cards so it only takes about 5 minutes to learn how to play, if that. It takes a little longer to get familiar with all the variations, but it’s not difficult and we played two games in less than an hour and had a blast.

The game is made by Looney Labs and has a bunch of themes, like Dr. Who or Firefly. We played the Star Trek: The Next Generation version and I loved it. I played with my three youngest children, ages 18-24, and they have never seen ST:TNG, but it didn’t make it any less fun.

We are always on the lookout for fun games. Do you have any suggestions?