Thursday, August 31, 2006

Okay, I Lied

I do have an update.

I got in a really good workout tonight. The bench press went up as if it were nothing... The rest of the workout was similarly exquisite, and the cardio component was good, too.

The downside: I came home craving cigarettes for the first time in... a long time. Don't worry, I didn't actually do anything about the craving.

But I did pour a Knob Creek (to negate the benefits of the workout). And added a decent writing session.

Updates? Yeah, we have those here. Life is good, people.


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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Pardon the Delay

Updates may be a little less frequent for a while. The Saint goes back to school next week, imparting her wisdom to impressionable, hormone-filled teens.

Middle Child is already in school (he turns 8!!! this weekend-- How the hell did that happen?) and Daughter is back in day care. Oldest Son starts 7th grade next week, and has his own milestone birthday in October. A question for the record: I am not old enough to have a teenager, am I? I guess I must be, because Oldest Son turns 13 too soon.

I'm rolling on the manuscript again; the first third is on my agent's desk, and I'm running full speed with yet another project. So if you don't see me for a few days, all of that is why.

I hope your writing is going well, and I'll be back as often as I can.


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Friday, August 25, 2006

Nocturnal Stupidity

This time, the lawn got me.

Not quite the lawn. Let me explain.

Monday night, I took Middle Child to the park. We were trying to meet one of his friends after football practice. Middle Child entered second grade on Wednesday, so Monday night was his last real night of summer vacation.

What does that have to do with the blood on my hands? Not a hell of a lot. It was my fault, not his.

We took a shortcut home. You know, because Middle Child wanted to, and he hadn't seen his football-playing friend at the park after all, and he was dejected that his summer was over... and without even thinking about it (worse, actually, because I thought about it and overruled my parental "No" command), I said, "Sure, we can go that way." Straight down a hill pocked with uneven blacktop, dusted in gravel and broken glass. In the dark. The day after a rain storm.

We'd just warned Oldest Son not to go that way: There's poison ivy, and he's gotten it twice this summer on that hill.

So, hey, I was doing well. Broke my own rules. Started down the hill. Slowly. Scraped my way down the blacktop. It's almost vertical at the top of the hill. Got all the way to a safer area, about two thirds of the way down. Middle Child was right behind me, scooting on his butt.

You know, when people tell you to listen to your children, you should pay attention. Their way down the hill is less glamorous... lower center of gravity and all that. And since I'd walked in front of him, no broken glass, either. But maybe I should have done it his way.

I smiled when we cleared the steepest part. And stepped on a huge clump of wet weeds. I was like a cartoon character on a banana peel. Bang! Right onto the blacktop and gravel and broken glass. Bloodied one hand (the one that holds pens, utensils and baseballs) and both arms.

Middle Child was fine. We got to the bottom of the hill and I realized I was no longer wearing my watch. I sent Middle Child home for a flashlight and went back up the hill. The Saint, Oldest child, Middle Child, a neighbor (with flashlight!) and neighbor's friend came back. Neighbor (with flashlight!) dug my watch out of the weeds. Bonus. We started back down the hill.

I smiled again when I cleared the steepest part. And stepped again on that same huge clump of wet weeds.

Same cartoon character on a banana peel result. Lost my glasses. The Saint found them.

Took almost an hour for the Saint to get me cleaned up. Ripped open both arms. My back looked like I'd gone street luging without the luge.

Was I pissed about that?

No. I was angry that:

  1. I did something stupid;
  2. Then I did the same stupid thing again;
  3. I worried my kids;
  4. And I couldn't write.
Not my son's fault. I say this, not just because it's true, but because Middle Child blamed himself. He was more upset than I was. I spent more time calming him down than the Saint did cleaning cinders out of my back.

So, yeah, I was dumb. Thankfully, I got carved up, not the boy. And in the meantime, you read #4 correctly, I've been unable to write. I sliced up my left palm pretty well, and the cuts on my wrists... well, they're conveniently located exactly where I rest them on the keyboard. Work was a little rough this week, though I survived the keyboard, my hands were sore by the time I got home.

Tonight, I'm back in the saddle. But I never thought writers could have a disabled list.

Middle Child, in the meantime, is ecstatic because this year at school, he has his own locker.

Here's the lesson I learned from that: Exult in life's simple pleasures.


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Sunday, August 20, 2006

Does This Count as a Publishing Credit?

By now, you all know that I am an evangelical Springsteen fan. I link to both Bruce's official site and to Backstreets... over there on the right somewhere.

Every time I go to a Springsteen concert, I write up my own review. I e-mail it to a bunch of fellow Bruce zealots and we all have a nice laugh. I also include the editor of Backstreets on that distribution list. Friday, the latest Backstreets arrived on my porch. Thumbing through all the concert reviews, I found... one of my own. That was cooler than some of my paid writing gigs.

Switching gears, it's been an interesting weekend. I got my manuscript off to my agent. I took Friday off to spend with the Saint and the kids (we went to the beach). Middle son starts school again on Wednesday after what might have been the best summer ever, and I wanted to have an extra day with everybody. We also found out on Friday that Oldest son gets to attend the same school where the Saint teaches. So change is afoot in the household.

Then yesterday, a spectacular birthday party with Kelly Malloy and her family (her daughter is now six). Today, it's a trip to the gym and then more work on my novel.

This inside work was my only audible of the weekend. We've had some work done on the house, so naturally, to celebrate (read: make the lawn look as nice as the house does), I've wanted to write a sequel to my lawn thriller of a couple of weeks ago. I still have chemical weapons available, after all.

But last night, it rained. It's still wet. No lawn thrillers today.

I still have a ton of brush left from my last installment. It burns very well in the fire pit, but now it's all wet, so I'll have to wait until it dries again. I believe the firewood salesmen call this "seasoning."


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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Just About There

Tonight, I'll finish my read-through. I always do one last read-through after the edits to make sure that the edits actually make sense. So far, they do. I have a couple of chapters left.

The bad news: I'm only a third of the way done with the novel. The good news: I only have two-thirds to go, and the first third is tight.

Hopefully, I'll have time to print it all out tonight. If not, then tomorrow night.



Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Blogger is giving me a hard time about sharing the good news: I've finished my revisions. After one more read-through (the polish coat), the package hits the mail.

I cut 5,000 words. Everything's tighter. I'm pleased. And it was relatively painless.


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Sunday, August 06, 2006

I Fought the Lawn and

I kicked its ass.

I murdered innocent blades of grass for an hour. Then I got out the weed whacker and slaughtered the survivors. That only increased my desire to kill.

I decided to prune the shrubs.

I borrowed the neighbors' pruning shears. Coming home, I missed a step down their stairway and ended up with major road rash (stair rash?) on my left knee. Curt Schilling isn't the only Bostonian with a bloody sock, damn it. Blood just brought on... blood lust. Like a feeding frenzy for herbivores.

I pruned the shrubs. To put it another way: They no longer exist. They're a couple of gnarled stumps by my front steps, just in time for the house painters to work their magic. (I'm going to cremate the remains of the shrubbery in my new fire pit, a gift from The Saint.)

Even with the shrubs gone, I wasn't done killing. Turns out, when my neighbors made a trip to Home Depot a month ago, they bought me some weed killer. Long story there, but I'd requested it, they'd purchased it, and we'd both forgotten about it. After watching me slaying plants with various blades in the heat, the neighbors remembered that chemical weapons were also available. I used almost an entire bottle of Round-Up. Some of the weeds are already starting to wilt.

After three hours in the sun, I felt like Hemingway in the cheap seats at a bullfight... and wow, is that Sangria going down cold right now or what?

I almost, almost forgot how much I hate yard work.


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Friday, August 04, 2006

Sangria Heaven

Just a quick update for the sangria fans out there.

I tried a new sangria recipe, and it's perfect.

I'm also two-thirds of the way finished with my revisions on the current draft.

What's not to love?


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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Living the Bohemian Lifestyle

The Saint and I are getting more quality time this week. The kids are at their grandparents' place again. Two weeks in a row, we've had Monday night dates. Sangria both nights. Last night, we had a Tuesday night date, too.

Tonight, another date. I think I was in college the last time I had all these dates in a span of 9 days. There was also the dinner I cooked on the grill the other night: Peppercorn encrusted pork tenderloin, asparagus and mushrooms. I think that qualified as a date, too.

After tonight's date, I must hit these revisions. They're going well. They're less painful than I expected.

Anything to keep me close to the air conditioner: 96 degrees and 70% humidity outside. I'm ignoring my lawn. Does that surprise anyone? I didn't think so.

I'm on pace to have the first third of the new novel to my agent by August 15. Two weeks from today.

Speaking of writing, here's the best news I've heard in a while. The Saint has a terrific book idea. Not for me. For her. I'm sworn to secrecy, but if she writes this thing, she'll be on bookshelves before I will.