Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Cherubim finished!

As planned, I finished the first draft of The Cherubim today. The ending frustrates me; I don't think it's 100% there yet, but that's what rewrites are for, right? I'll spend the next month working on the second draft. Normally, I'd wait a couple of months, but I think the near month long February break was long enough. Time to jump back in and do some serious reworking; I'll spend the next couple of days on a reread, since I apparently forgot 90% of the book.

Go suck an egg

Just for reference: AT&T has the second-worst customer service I've ever seen (the crown for shitty service still goes to Time Warner.)

Once again, I've been yanked back to their bizarre world where my accounts do not exist, yet I'm being billed for services that were canceled two months ago. Half an hour later, transferred to my third customer service tech, I hung up after finding that their computers are mysteriously down again and even if they wanted to, they couldn't look up my information.

Tried to login to their website to look at my really true secret hidden final bill with a $120 worth of credit, and here's what I get:

Fuck you, AT&T.

Friday, February 27, 2009

The Wait

There's nothing left but the wait.

Last night, Rebecca woke me up because of a racket outside. There was a wild rainstorm; we're talking SHEETS of rain. I couldn't get back to sleep for a while, and I feel a little like I'm walking through clouds this morning. I'm taking a break from the writing until tomorrow, as this morning we're going to go to estate sales. Rebecca's gonna find stuff to sell online!

Speak of the devil; I started this entry to waste time until she was ready, and now she is. Back to everything tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


I can't believe we went through that entire book in two days. I deleted another huge chunk and added some back. Rebecca fixed at least a hundred typos. My brain just wants me to type like a seven-year-old. We're going to sleep so well tonight.

It's been sent to the agent, though. For better or for worse.

Back to writing again tomorrow; I may just finish up The Cherubim before even THINKING about glancing at The Dead Rise again.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The revision

Rebecca and I are working overtime to get this draft ready by tomorrow night. We finished up the synopsis (I hope; I keep having second thoughts. It's hard as hell to get 70,000 words condensed into two pages without sounding dry.)

So why am I blogging? She's reviewing the chapters and pointing out mistakes I've missed; mostly typos I've made from corrections in the last few days. Magazines rusted! His padded chair magically changes to a plastic yellow chair! The time for major changes is gone, though I've deleted another 500 words. Really, I just want the first third of the book to read okay. For my part, if I get a third of the way through a book and enjoy it, I have to finish it.

I really, really want to do this for a living.


I got excited with the progress of the new draft yesterday and queried an agent. This morning, she's written back asking to read the full manuscript.

I am terrified.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Plea

On behalf of all computer guys and former computer guys out there, I beg the world:

Please stop asking us to fix your computers.

We understand that your computer is not working right. That is okay. Many computers aren't working right. Unless you are our best friends or we owe you a favor, we do not want to fix your computer for free. A home-cooked meal isn't going to do it either. I am a complete jerk and snob when it comes to food; I will starve before I eat that casserole. Canned soups, canned vegetables, and canned meats are not allowed in the house, and mayonnaise should never be used as a sauce-base.

Please, do not immediately ask me after we meet if I can drive forty miles to fix your computer. That is too far. Offer me cash and we'll talk; I want gas money, fifty dollars minimum for the first hour, and twenty an hour afterward. That includes the drive. We're talking a hundred bucks baseline, and realize that I am doing this begrudgingly.

Computers are okay. I have been paid in the past to work on them, and I do it okay, but it isn't a hobby. I do not like doing it for fun. There's not a constant urge inside of me to install Spybot and remove viruses from random machines. This has happened too many times; it is breaking my heart. NO! Go to Best Buy, or just find your grandchildren.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Beautiful Saturday

Today seems like no wrong can happen. The weather's nice. The revising is going beautifully. Liz and Marva are helping me shape up the book, and the first 40 pages or so read SO much better. Comcast is (supposedly) heading over soon, I'm getting a refund from our old apartment, and I got a polite letter from our local senator thanking me for my application for Press Secretary. (Rejection, but he suggested I shoot him an email and he'd let me know if anything else was open. The most gracious rejection letter I've ever seen.)

It's one of those days that makes me think I should be a betting man.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Here we go

After revising a particularly good part of my manuscript, I got excited and sent out my revised query and first chapter (thanks to LizB and Marva!) to the exciting, semi-interested literary agent.

I do not recommend doing this. I'm a very anxious man, and now, one minute later, I'm second-guessing myself and on pins and needles. I could run a mile.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Nashville: Day Two

Honestly, it's day six or so, but who's counting? It's my second day of writing. I did my quota of revising yesterday and created a rough outline for the synopsis, so everything's great.

Got up this morning to do my so-called daily routine (make breakfast, go for a long walk), and only half of that happened. It's twenty-nine degrees. I got as far as the dumpster before saying, okay, I'm awake enough.

I spent all of yesterday afternoon wrestling with this fucking internet. Finally made the deal with the devil and called Comcast. I promised myself two years ago that I'd never, ever, ever have anything to do with them for the rest of my life, but... AT&T customer service is just as bad. If the choice is between the $40 slow, intermittently failing devil and the $40 blindingly-ten-times-faster devil, I'll... wish for municipal broadband?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


The city is cold. The city is rainy. I have a headache, and I guess the three things may somehow be correlated.

Yesterday, the furniture arrived. Most of it was in one piece; some of the plastic lids were cracked, and there was a brief moment of panic (and simultaneous exhilaration) when I saw our television box impaled on the legs of a wooden chair. Fortunately (I suppose), the legs just smacked the back of the television, leaving the screen intact and working fine. Two hours of lugging in boxes that weighed more than a tired man; my legs ache today.

Last night, my mind went from "Let's take a day to get everything in order" to "Let's start the book right now, right away!" So this morning, I woke up, found it was raining (no walking!) and started immediately. The book is good. I left it in decent shape. I sent the first chapter to LizB to post on CritiqueCircle, which makes me feel a little nervous (and excited.)

I'm hoping to get the book and query to a point where I can start querying again late next week, and I think that's do-able. I found out today that I need a synopsis. How'd I miss that? I started writing one, and it is just awful. AWFUL. But awful is better than nothing; awful can be carved into decent and polished into good.

By the end of the day, I'm hoping to have read through the first quarter of the book, have a decent first draft of the synopsis, and posted on QueryTracker and CritiqueCircle.

That may have something to do with the headache, too.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Week one

We're in Nashville! Furniture: air mattress, a cardboard box, and (fingers crossed, very soon), some plastic chairs, courtesy of my mother.

My computer isn't hooked up yet. I'm on Rebecca's old P.C., and we still aren't sure where everything is going. I'm starting to get very, very antsy. I planned to start writing / editing / EVERYTHING on Tuesday, Wednesday at latest, but it's been almost a week since I've been able to write, and I don't like it. I feel lazy. I've given myself sixteen weeks to write before finding a job, and every day I don't feels like a waste.

But typing from the carpet is hell on the wrists.

I'm about to do some more posting on QueryTracker (feel like a total heel for accepting all of this criticism / advice and not critiquing on my own, but yeesh, it's not something I can help at the moment!) and, hopefully by the end of the week, I can start editing The Dead Rise again. I think the last 10% of The Cherubim will have to wait; I really want to have a near-finished book to circulate to agents.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

So long, farewell, goodbye

Yesterday was my last day of work. Very surreal. Today, Rebecca and I are packing up everything; we'll be gone for the next week or so. Once we settle in, it's back to writing, posting, and sleeping.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


Thank you, LizB, for suggesting I post on! It took a few days before I got around to it. I'm nervous about putting out a piece of work for criticism. When I sent out my first couple of query letters, I felt sick to my stomach every day I didn't get a reply. I irrationally kept expecting replies like, "Who are you, and why are you sending this to me?" But really, that's part of the point of writing - just putting everything out and taking criticism.

I've got some GREAT suggestions so far - suggestions that address a lot of problems I have with my current query. Once we're in Nashville and I finish polishing this draft, I'll feel a lot more comfortable about sending out queries again.

This is a weekend of goodbyes and packing.

Friday, February 6, 2009


Today was my last Friday at work! Just one more day to go. My boss is avoiding me because I have been insisting on training him. Someone's got to learn to do this stuff; the girl I'm supposed to train took off the last two days "because my daughter was sick." Two days ago, she told me that she was considering telling the boss her daughter was sick so she could go home early. Luckily, she stayed long enough to find out she got hired full-time as my replacement. That's pretty good timing, buddy.

I'm currently 4-5 days from being finished with my third book, tentatively titled The Cherubim. It's a science-fiction horror young adult novel that I've been working on since I finished the second draft of my second book, The Dead Rise. I like it much better. Action is way easier to write than an exploration of the teenage psyche.

And in six days, we'll be heading back to Tennessee. I had another couple of "wow, you're quitting? Right now? You don't have a job? Are you an idiot?" conversations today. After gamely reassuring the other parties that yes, I will be able to find a job, and I will be fine, I will not die in a gutter in the next few months, I wonder why I bother. We're doing what makes us happy, and no one's going to come out for the worse. That's all that matters!

Monday, February 2, 2009

So it goes

It's my last full work week in Houston, and I'm gearing up to leave. I'm training my coworker, and that's going better than I'd hoped.

I'm still hoping to write through this week; I'd like to get to Nashville with maybe a week's worth of writing to finish on Book Three. Still written like an enthusiastic fourth grader's book report, but I just have to remember that story is the key, not detail. Once the story's in place, I can fix the rest.

I started looking for Nashville jobs today, breaking our solemn oath of No Full-Time Job for Four Months. This is because I found a job in Nashville as Press Secretary to the Democratic Party. Taking notes, writing agendas, and hanging out with the Senate. Have I ever been a Press Secretary? Absolutely not. But as I read, I thought - I can do this.

So I sent them my resume, and I wrote a nice cover letter explaining that I was an IT worker, but I'd had plenty of experience doing the kinds of things that Press Secretaries seem to do and, as someone who enjoys writing, I'd be well qualified to handle the workload.

That was probably quite naïve of me. But how could I pass up an opportunity like that? It was surreal, and that drew my attention.