Wednesday, August 16, 2017

August Check-in 2: Freddy's Revenge

You are all my children now!

I have continued to write every day, but I've had no impressive, marathon writing sessions to boast about.  I went to the library twice last week and once this week, but I use that time to type up my novella (and today, the craptop froze on me, and when I restarted it, found that I had lost about a quarter of the stuff I'd typed), so it helps you not at all.

Wait a minute, NONE of this stuff helps you.  Whoops, I had my priorities way off.

But good old Taco Bell, I did go there on Sunday and force myself to write after I had eaten my Double Chalupa (I was the only customer), and I did manage to finish a short story I've been meaning to write since 2015.  It ain't good, but I had to do it now, or I knew I'd never write it.*

I booked work on a TV show last week, and was looking forward to it, not only because I've always enjoyed that kind of work, but because I knew I could use it to write for an hour or six.  But I ended up losing the gig three days later, to much bitterness and self-recrimination.  I had a second chance booking to do it again this week, and then never got a text or a call about it, and no response to my emails . . . which makes me think it's not me, but that the casting director is, how you say in English, part of donkey what makes urine?

But I might drive up to the cabin and sequester myself again, see if that might not be productive and/or enjoyable.  We'll see.

My other goal this month has been to work on audio every single day, and I honestly don't know if I've missed any days.  I think not, since I worked on a Dunesteef episode, a That Gets My Goat, a Delusions of Grandeur, and the most dreaded of the Rish Outcasts, all in the last week.  I've also nearly finished recording my silly Fantasy story with the ridiculous title.  In fact, that's what I was about to work on when I started writing this blog.  I'm not sure if I'll do it now.

Ah well.  At least I did this.

Rish Outfield

*I heard that a project very similar is coming out in the fall, and I'm not sure if I'd forgive myself if I waited until that was out there without at least having TRIED to write my own version.  I probably ought to record a podcast about that sometime, about where the line between "Influenced By" and "Ripped-off" is.
For example, I started reading a book a couple of months back, and something about it reminded me about an idea kind of like it I had had a couple of years ago, but abandoned it after writing the first couple of pages.  So, I unearthed that, and started writing it again (this the YA project I keep mentioning).  It's not going extremely well, but I'm still working on it.
Unfortunately, this week I started reading the second book in the series, and it is so very similar to my YA book, that even I am wondering if I'm just writing a third-rate knock off of it.  It's a little discouraging, whereas reading the first book was quite encouraging.  I wish I could be one of those people who writes a book that's just "Raiders of the Lost Ark" but with high school students (straight down to mathletes as Arabs and football jocks as Nazis), and never even blink an eye.  But I'm not, you know what I mean?
Or "Star Wars" with teenagers, or "Harry Potter" but with American (teenagers), or "The Last Starfighter" but with American teenagers, or "The Silence of the Lambs" but in middle school, etc..

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Rish Outcast 80: Abigail Hilton Interview

Rish sits down with author Abigail Hilton to talk about her recent book, "Jager Thunder," which Rish had a swell time narrating.

Do you wanna download the episode?  Right-Click HERE.

Here's a link to Abbie's Patreon page and the book over at Audible and iTunes!

And of course, here's a link to my own Patreon page.  But you probably already have that on Speed Dial.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

August Check-In 1

So, I have not been too brilliant with this blogging thing this month. Sorry. Although it's more "sorry" with air quotes around it.

Thing is, I don't want to blog about how my writing is going, or my audio work, because then there's some kind of accountability, and who wants that?

Yes, I have written every day this month (though I very nearly missed it yesterday, and forced myself to write last night at about quarter to three, just so I could say I did), though most of the time, it's just a few words/paragraphs here or there.

I did go to the library again on Saturday and stay there until I had "A Mark on the Sky" all typed up. In the end, it looks to be 25,445 words long. That's not too shabby, though it's nowhere near novel length, and apparently that's what you need to make money out there.

Still, in audio, it'll be over four hours long (unless my math is way off, and it might be), and that don't suck. I look forward to recording the audiobook version of this one, though of course, not the editing.

So, speaking of audio, the second goal for August was to work on audio every single day, and that I've also kept up so far. I recorded a short story and an episode to go with it, I began recording "Journey Into Another Dimension," and sadly only got through about twenty percent in the first sitting. I edited a story, "Romantic Interlude," I edited a two-part Rish Outcast story presentation (which was, shame on someone, originally intended to be only a single part), and I finally started editing the episode I most didn't want to run, because it's going on a year now. Oh, and I am nearly done with a That Gets My Goat, and nearly started on a Delusions of Grandeur.

On the writing front, I started on yet another new story on Monday, one that I feel I HAVE to write right now, or I'll never do it (time is sorta of the essence on this one), and I've decided that, unlike my short stories that become novellas (or novellas that become would-be novels), this is a novella that I'm paring down to a short story, because of the time constraint.

More on that later.

I went to the family cabin twice so far this month, both times to do some painting/varnishing, but managed a few pages in my notebook while I was there. I keep trying to figure out a time when I can drive down alone again and really buckle down on my writing and editing, but it's not just MY cabin (in fact, it's not MY cabin at all), and there are other people wanting to go there on any given weekend. Maybe next week.

So, there's my status report for the first week of August. I'm sure the month will be over before I can summon a healthy fart, but I hope I do something (or other) to be proud of before it is.

Rish Outfield, Wankle Rotor

Sunday, August 06, 2017

My Second Audio Collection Available on Audible

So, every once in a while, I try to put out my audio recordings in collections, so people can buy them.  A novel idea, I know.  This was my first one.

Well, the second volume is out there, just waiting for some fool--er, someone discerning enough to buy it.

I got my pal Gino Moretto to do the cover art for this collection too, and while it's not the same as the first one, I feel they have a relation, a thematic consistency.

So, this particular collection consists of:

1.      Introduction
2.      Say Uncle
3.      A Slight Delay
4.      Touching
5.      Unique Combination
6.      All Night Gas
7.      The Awful Tale of the Minnesota Diarrhea Ghost
8.      New Year’s Day
9.      Unpleasant Sensation
10.   Dead Letter
11.   Subtext
12.   Quiddler’s Menagerie
13.   Rest Stop
14.   Overtaken
15.   Leap of Faith
16.   Last Call
17.   Discovery
18.   On Dusty Wings
19.   Greetings from the Ninth Sector

A lot of these stories you have heard (or heard of) before, but with stuff like "Greetings..." it's an extended version than has previously been podcast, and there are a couple flash fiction pieces not available anywhere else.

I already have a story or three in mind for a third collection, but it'll be a while, unless I find some ambition in my travels. 

It'd be cool if you purchased a copy.  If not, hey, you're still cool.  Scoop it up at this link

Friday, August 04, 2017

Rish Outcast 79: You've Got To Want It More

So, Rish goes for an extra long drive, thinking about the recent writers' conference, the people he saw there, and the encouraging/discouraging things people said in panels.  So he gets kind of inspirational too.*

Can we be frank, kids?  I think this is my best episode ever.  Yeah, I said it.

Your mileage may vary.**

Go ahead and Right-Click THIS LINK if you want to download it.  I dare you.

*Warning: a bit of language and a bit of "La La Land" in this one.  So, double-warning.

**I made some kind of promise in this episode, so here's the link to that story I vowed to not only write, but to publish.  Me and my big mouth.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

July 30 & 31 (the end)

July 30th.

This was another of those cases where, right before bed, I figured I'd jot down a few words, and wrote more than I had intended.  Which is fine.  You see, I have three projects I've been working on the last week or so: 1) typing up "A Mark on the Sky" from my notebook to the laptop, which sometimes involves writing new bits, 2) my YA novel/novella/short story in my notebook, which is not well-organized, and I just write random scenes for, and 3) a new project I just started on the laptop, but am much more interested in than the other one, and am writing linearly from the beginning.  This writing was on that third project, and what can I say, it's more fun.

Words Written: 533
Total Words: 16,381

July 31st. 

My favorite summer month has ended.  I was planning to go see DUNKIRK with that friend from work, but it fell apart, so I ought to write instead, right?  Salvage the night, maybe at the library?

Alright, damn you, I went to the library, and stayed until they did their obnoxious announcement and flashed the lights.  I really wanted to get all of "Mark on the Sky" typed up, but I didn't make it.  I still have five or six notebook pages left to get down, but it's never just a matter of typing up my handwritten stories; there's always revising, expanding, and occasionally trying to figure out a better line or joke than what I originally wrote.*  Sometimes it's just trying to make heads or tails of my handwriting.  I really ought to work on that.  But I won't.

Words Written: 316
Total Words: 16,697

And there you have it, the end of July.  I wrote every single day, never cheating, never completely failing.  And that's something.  Still, look at those total words.  Not particularly impressive.

And if we look at the total words in February, we got 23,969, and the total March words were never tabulated, so, I guess that gives me a little perspective.  Or half a little.  Why I was so much more dedicated in February than July is hard to pin down.  Maybe I've been working more in July, maybe the hot weather kept my ambition in the shade, maybe the projects I'm in the middle of now are less compelling than the ones from a couple of months ago.

Nevertheless, I don't think I'm going to quit there.  Not entirely, anyway.  I plan on going to the family cabin for another night in a Friday or two, perhaps staying an extra four or five hours longer (or a second night, if I really want to stretch myself).  And yes, I'm going to write every day in August, and I'll TRY to keep up a word count, though I don't think I'll blog it every other day like I did this time.  Unless that's entertaining, I dunno.

Regardless, the month of July was a writing experiment that wasn't wholly unsuccessful, and there will be more to come.

Rish Outfield, Writer.

*For example, in the notebook today, I had a character exclaiming, "Holy god."  I had to decide whether or not to capitalize God (I did), and then I wondered if there wasn't a better expletive for the character to say.  I am ashamed to admit I wasted an inordinate amount of time on this, first changing it to "Mother of God," then changing it to "Jesus wept," and then trying to figure out a clever variation on "Jesus wept."  Jesus slept?  Jesus leapt?  Jesus swept? (that's the one I picked).  But then I thought, why not having it be something totally absurd, like "Baby Jesus' dirty diapers."  Was that funny, or just a mouthful, or more blasphemous than even I had intended?  I changed it back to "Jesus swept," but ended up dissatisfied with the whole thing.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

July 28th & 29th

July 28th.

This is strange.  I think I went to the library again on this day, but now I'm confused.  Did I really go two days in a row?  I--

Yeah, yeah, I did.  The day before, I'd gone right before closing, sitting on the first floor, and the second day, I went a couple hours before it closed, and went to the Quiet Floor, where the only interruptions would be in my pants.*

I didn't get a ton of new words written, but I did get very close to having all of "Mark on the Sky" typed up.  Only one more session ought to do it.

Words Today: 433
Total Words: 15,079

July 29th.

Saturday was going to be a difficult writing day, because I had to get up very early and drive down to the family cabin with my mom and brother, where we were going to stain/varnish/paint the outside walls/paneling.  I'm not sure what the word is where you put on a coat or two of brown glossy stuff, and then a layer of clear-coat over it.  But that's what we did, and with three of us working, we managed to get quite a bit of it done with zero casualties.

Although, technically, my writing might count as a casualty.  I did bring my notebook with me, and sat down at the table while my brother was mixing up the clear-coat, and tried to get some words in.  My mom kept coming over and talking to me, mostly about the flowers outside or the amount of cobwebs inside, or the amount of people that could stay at one time or where did all the paper towels go?  I think she may have just been talking to herself some of that time, but because I was there, trying hard to focus, I appreciated it less than I should have.

Not a lot of words.  On the drive back, she asked me to tell her about what I was writing.  I basically told her the entire story, at least all that I have, and she asked a couple of questions I don't know the answer to, and seemed to think this was a book series instead of a single YA novel.  She may be right, but if I was intimidated at the idea of writing a novel, how much worse would writing a series of novels be?

There was a get-together of old high school friends that evening, so I had enough time to get home, get showered (I was very dirty from all the painting, and I still see brown varnish on my elbow and fingernails), run over to Walmart to buy "a side" for people to eat (I got chips and salsa; I don't know what a side dish is, let alone a side), and get there only a half hour late.  I hobnobbed with some of the guys I knew in high school, but I was literally the only person there without kids, and that made me a bit of a third wheel (if not fifth or seventh).  It was kind of an eye-opening get-together, a reminder of just how old I'm getting, and also of how much less grown-up I am than the people I went to high school with.  It was still good to see them, but I have a lot less in common with those guys than I did decades ago.

I got home and felt like I should try to write just a little more, but I was too tired.  And in counting up the words in that terrible notebook, I suppose I did get a lot more writing done than I thought I did.  Maybe I wrote some of it in my sleep.

Words Today: 769
Total Words: 15,848

*Sorry, that's a bit of an overshare, yeah, but I sat down, got my notebook and my craptop set up, and then suddenly, had to run to the bathroom, if you know what I mean.  In the past, I've been savvy enough to take all my belongings with me to the restroom, because you never know, but this one was indeed an emergency, and I didn't really decide to leave my stuff on the desk, but was rather forced to.  I made my way, as fast as I could without drawing attention to myself, to the nearest toilet, and thank Bossk there was no one already in there . . . things would have ended badly.  Or worse, anyway.
When I came back to the cubicle, everything was as it had been, except for the note on a 3x5 card that said, "I kNOw wHaT yOU dID," that was put there by a librarian.  That was unsettling.

Friday, July 28, 2017

July 26th & 27th

July 26.

I don't know where the hours go.  I had some time to myself today, and even though I posted two episodes of the Rish Outcast, mowed the lawn, and sat down to perform a Fake Sean Connery song, the hours of the day were not enough, and it was night by the time I checked what time afternoon it was.

I did manage a little bit of writing, during lunch, and hopefully tonight, but I'm just as undisciplined as one of James Cameron's Colonial Marines.

But as I've said (what, ninety times now), maybe July was just a jumping-off point, and August can be truly productive, at least by comparison.  I'm not in a race with you, I'm in a race with mys . . .

Oh, I just checked.  It IS you.  I'm sorry, I didn't realize.  I'm a race with you.  Sorry.

Words Today: 659
Total Words: 14,502

July 27.

Today, I decided it was time to head back to the library and force myself to write for an hour or two.  After all, it is the end of the month, and though I did well three or four days this past week, I'm still pretty far from where I wanted to be.  I thought I could write a whole novella this month, or a short story and part of a novel.

Well, I was on my way to the library when I ran into what I guess I have to consider the only friend I have left.  I chatted with him for a few minutes, figuring I'd hit the library immediately after.  But as the minutes became an hour, I started to wonder if I would miss my chance to hit the library and write*, and the bigger question occurred to me: is hanging out with my friend more or less important than going and getting my writing done?

I'm something of a recluse and a misanthrope, and living on my own in the big city showed me that I'm at least partially capable of being alone and just fine . . . but dude, it would be nice to have a friend or two, you dig?

So, I went to the library, and it was closing in just under an hour, and I sat at the first empty desk I came to and tried to make the most of it.  I had made the mistake of stepping into the audiobook section and catching the eye of a helpful young man who, despite not being a library employee, asked me what I was looking for.  I glanced to my left, saw the Veronica Roth books, and said, "Oh, there's a book by Patrick Rothfuss I've always meant to read.  Just checking to see if it's here."  The young man nodded.  "Is it The Name of the Wind?"  "That's right.  But it's never here."

I went and sat down, booted up the computer, and managed just a few words before the helpful young man walked up to me.  "Well," he said, "I looked it up in the computer, and there's no audio version."  "Excuse me?" I asked.  "The Name of the Wind.  The library does have eight copies of the paper version of the book, but they're all checked out."  Apparently, the chap had gone through the aisles looking for me to let me know.  "Well, thanks, man," I said, still puzzled as to what was happening here.  I suppose attractive young women get this kind of reception all the time, but for me, it's baffling.  "You can put a hold on it," he said, ever helpful, "and when the library gets a copy in, they'll set it aside for you."  I considered explaining that I never manage to read physical books, that I fall asleep, and that's why I wanted the audiobook, but instead, I just said, "I'll do that.  Thanks again."

He walked away, ostensibly looking for old ladies to help cross the street, and I resumed writing.  Or attempting to write, because despite having very little time before the building closed, the blind Japanese guy who seems to live there has some kind of device where you push a button and it screams, "THE TIME IS EIGHT TWENTY-ONE PM!!!!!!!!!" which, I suppose, is to help him know how much time he has left, but he just kept pushing it, and the machine announced it to everyone in a two-block radius.  It just bothered me, that he'd push it, and two minutes later he'd push it again.  And then the library did their actual announcement, and I guess their policy is, after they do the audio announcement, they flip the lights on and off, in case, I dunno, the Japanese blind guy has a Japanese deaf best pal with him.  The second time they toggled the lights on and off, I actually said, "Fuckers!" out loud.

It's okay, I wasn't on the Quiet Floor.

Words Today: 144
Total Words: 14,646

*At one point, I mentioned my library intentions to him and he said, "Why don't you just go to Starbucks and write, like the rest of the jagoffs?"  He may or may not have used the word "jagoff" (okay, he didn't; I just like the sound of it), but it was a good question.  Why does it HAVE to be the library?  Back before my laptop became, first a craptop, and now a gigantic piece of shit, I used to be able to take it to the park and write, or heck, just into the backyard for an hour or so, but now it constantly needs to be plugged in, so my options are limited.
Although I did take it to Arby's once, and that wasn't an unpleasant experience.  Maybe I will again (though I'll definitely have to start donating plasma to afford to eat at Arby's.  Either that or donate a kidney.  That ought to cover my meals there for a good month or so).

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

July 23rd, 24th, 25th

July 23rd.

Well, I be a back-slider.

After two days of really good, solid progress (no, not compared to YOU, Your Highness, but for me, Friday and Saturday kicked ass), I got very little writing done.  Guess I should've stayed another night at the cabin.

But in my defense, Your Honor, I was working a big chunk of the next two days, and that is kind of important, due to having a dollar sign attached to it.  Heck, I should be working right now instead of writing this.*

Just managed to jot down a paragraph or two in my notebook at lunchtime.

Words Today: 88
Total Words: 11,636

July 24th.

Another day just like the one before.  Except that, at the end of the day, I sat down and wrote a little bit, just so I didn't feel like the loser who only wrote eighty-eight words.

Which reminds me: I've been sort of revisiting a story I abandoned with a teen protagonist, and I keep struggling with how to expand it from a short story to a novel, and one of the additions I've made is to have a love interest in the story, someone who notices our guy, and because she's paying attention, sees that he has a secret nobody else can see.

Unfortunately, I already had a male character, a new best friend kind of thing, who served that purpose, and it makes me question the purpose of the love interest character.  Is she just there so that there's the potential for kissing?  Is she just there because I fear someone saying, "Why are there only male characters in this??"  Is she sort of tacked on and worthless, just because I'm not talented enough to do something with her?

Don't answer that last one.

Anyway, I was able to call Big Anklevich after work and talk to him about this quandary, and he gave me some suggestions.  Maybe there's something I can do with the love interest if I make it a quartet of teen characters instead of just a trio.

There's also a female antagonist that shows up on or about the midpoint of the story, and she sort of throws everything our main character knows into question.  I wondered, is it stronger if she's his long-lost sister, or just his cousin?**  And then I got the "brilliant" idea of, what if I combine this cousin/sister character with the love interest, and that way she's definitely got something important to do in the story?  Yay!

Of course, a lot of folks find incest slightly distasteful, them not having written a sequel to "The Calling."  And I dunno if I want to tackle that subject again . . . so soon, anyway.

Big told me not to worry about people thinking I'm repeating elements from previous stories, by asking if there's really anyone out there that's a big enough fan to have read everything I've written.  It's probably okay to have more than one story about a family with supernatural abilities, where some of them are good and some of them are evil.  Just talking through it out loud is helpful, as I have discovered when doing the Voice Recorder feature on phones and mp3 players (go ahead and look up what those were), and I think I'm in a better place having spoken to him.

So, while the conversation with Big doesn't count as writing (and neither do these blog posts), I think it might encourage me to write more tomorrow.  And the day after.

Words Today: 993
Total Words: 12,629

July 25.

I did work a little harder on this day, especially THINKING about writing the YA book.  I don't really know how to do it, but I keep coming up with scenes I want to put in the book, and I've been writing those.  That may end up being a disaster, but to me, it's kind of like I'm writing little connected short stories, and that may be what I have to do to get a novel written.

I sat up late tonight, meaning to jot down a few notes, and ended up typing quite a bit.  And those words add up.

Words Today: 1214
Total Words: 13,843

*That reminds me, there was this podcast (which shall remain nameless, but it's similar to a line in the attached sentence, which I kept trying to listen to, but had the most godawful theme song in the history of music (and I ought to put "music" in quotation marks, that theme was so unlistenable).  The content of the podcast was solid, and would have helped me, but every time I heard that theme song, I had to turn it off.  Sad.
Then one day, a friend of mine sent me an email with an episode of that podcast attached.  "You'll get a kick out of this, I bet," he wrote.  I listened to the attached episode (it was from months or years after the point I'd stopped listening to the show), and right at the beginning, the host comes on and says, "You may notice that, starting with this episode, we have a new theme tune for the podcast.  This was because of the endless complaints we would get here about it.  I personally thought the music was charming and it made me smile whenever I heard it, but due to the constant stream of angry comments, we have retired it.  Enjoy."
And I did.

**Originally she was going to be a cousin he had never heard about, but I thought, what if she's his sister, and like Luke and Leia, one was taken by one parent figure and one was taken by another?  But I don't know if that works as well as it just being the daughter of his mother's brother he didn't know existed, rather than the daughter of his mother he couldn't remember.  I still don't know.  Hmmm.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Rish Outcast 78: Remember the Future

So, a year or so back, Rish went into the woods and recorded this episode in front of a campfire. He shares the story "Remember the Future," about a teenage girl who receives a rather unfortunate gift (with an appearance by a character or two from past Rish Outfield tales).
Warning: A bit of TMI.

Do you really want to download this episode?  Okay, just Right-Click HERE.