Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Famous Final Scene

I finished the first draft five minutes ago. 116,382 words.

Draft two begins on the weekend. I expect to deliver draft 3 to my agents in about six weeks.

I am exhausted. I am thrilled. I am behind schedule again.



Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Baseball Season

Last year, I coached Oldest Son's baseball team. I had as much fun as the kids did. This year, I was beyond thrilled when Middle Child asked me to coach his team. I'm working with two great guys who really know how to coach. As coaches, we're lucky to have great kids, with great parents, always involved, always willing to help during practices. Since we already knew some of the parents, Daughter and the Saint have fun, too.

Baseball and spring go so well together. Our opening day parade and first game are Saturday. I think my mother will be around to see those, too.

In other news, the Saint's new computer is here. It's not a Mac, so I don't have computer envy. But I'll admit it's pretty sweet. Maybe now she'll write that book she's always wanted to write.
Seth Gitell and I had a great discussion about politics over lunch today. Made me think that Seth's about to break out a best-seller. He's close. As a journalist and a former press secretary, with a law degree to boot, he has one of the sharpest political minds in the country. If a campaign doesn't snap him up, he'll write a definitive book about this election cycle.

And my book... I'm three scenes away from the end. I could finish tomorrow. Perhaps Thursday. But soon. Very, very soon.

I'm not even stressed about it. It's baseball season. Hope springs eternal.


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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Into the Final Turn

I've had an incredibly productive few days with this manuscript. Another chapter and a half and I'll be done with this draft. The stats, for those of you keeping score at home: 405 pages and 111,000 words. Those will increase, briefly, and then decrease, when the real work-- editing-- begins.

For now... at long last, I think I'll finish draft one this weekend.

I'm trying to stay in my protagonist's head, so I've avoided (for the most part, successfully) listening to Bruce, if failing to play his music can be called a success (I don't think it can). As I've said elsewhere on this blog, this protag is more country than rock and roll. I've been playing Johnny Cash's prison albums a lot lately. When that hasn't worked, Merle Haggard and Waylon Jennings have hit the scene.

When draft one is over, I'm cranking up perhaps the most exquisite Bruce album I own, my bootleg of his second night at Fenway Park in 2003. After that: Nebraska.

It's time. In fact, it's overdue.


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Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Saint Wins a Raffle

The Saint went out to a dinner-fundraiser with her friends the other night. I stayed home with Oldest Son, Middle Child and Daughter. We had a blast. They wore me out. I crashed at 9:30.

At 10:30, the Saint runs into the bedroom, shouting, "Adam!"

I ignore her.

She yells my name again.

Again, I ignore her.

When she says my name a third time, I realize that I'm not getting back to sleep until I acknowledge her.

"Hmm?" I mumble.

"We had a raffle at the fundraiser."

"That's nice."

I knew this already. Have I mentioned that earlier in the evening, she'd liberated the last $20 from my wallet? She spent it on raffle tickets.

"I won!"

"Great. That's lovely." The last time I won a raffle, I brought home bubble bath. Mine was free. I hope the Saint didn't pay all $20 for hers.

"It was $800 worth of stuff!" Visions of pedicures danced through my head. Chocolates, flowers, gift certificates for soaps, shampoos, more bubble bath, all kinds of feminine stuff that bores me... I was rapidly drifting back to sleep.

"We got a night at the Hyatt!

"And I get to drive one of these for a weekend!"

I'm happily dreaming again by this point, although I've always wanted to own a Navigator, which is funny, because I drive about 10 miles per week.

"And we get dinner here!" I snapped joyously awake, sure I heard Beethoven's Ninth playing in the background.

Have I mentioned how cool it is that the Saint entered the raffle? All this for only $20?

She won the anniversary package. Aside from the obligatory chocolates and cookies, yes, there was a facial. There was also a nice bottle of champagne, two glasses, dinner at a sushi place, and a bunch of other great stuff.

I just ordered her birthday present as well, a little late, but I think she'll like it. She picked it out, after all.

And this evening, she's out with her friends again. I think this is a good start to her vacation week.

In the meantime, I need to write. But I won't. Before I began this post, I dialed for dinner. I need to get the door. It's Domino's.



Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Brian McGrory's Latest Novel

I admit it: Dave Guarino beat me on this one, too.

A couple of weeks ago, Dave put up a post about Boston Globe metro columnist Brian McGrory. Before his stint as a columnist, McGrory broke stories in the Globe's Washington Bureau. Political consultants who do PR pitch Washington reporters and metro columnists quite a bit. Brian and I have spoken more than a few times over the past decade.

I linked to Brian's website when I started this blog because he's also a published novelist. When I was working on my first novel, he and I had lunch a few times. He was tremendously helpful. He also recommended me to his agent. I ended up signing elsewhere, but that's another story.

Brian's first three books are on my shelf, well-thumbed and inscribed by the author. You should read them. You should also read his fourth (here's where Guarino beat me).

I read Guarino's blog one day on my lunch break. He mentioned McGrory's latest book. Before lunch was over, I hiked to Borders and purchased it. I was going to call it an impulse buy, but impulse implies that I might have actually thought about my purchase. I didn't think. Not that it mattered.

Strangled features McGrory's protagonist, Jack Flynn. It's a great take on the Boston Strangler killings from the 1960s, with a modern twist. It's also a splendid look at Boston itself: our city, its politics, its history.

McGrory has been compared to another of my favorite writers, Nelson DeMille. That's an accurate comparison.

McGrory's writing was terrific, the plot sizzled, and I laughed out loud. It's not easy to accomplish all three of those things in one novel. I blew through the book in two days. I couldn't help it. If you like a good thriller, or if you want to learn more about Boston or the news business, go grab one of his books. Better yet, grab all four.


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Monday, April 09, 2007

Slow, Steady Progress

Daughter caught a cold a couple of weeks ago. She thoughtfully passed it to me. I'm just getting over it. That cold (the bad news) and coaching Middle Child's baseball team (the good news) have precluded blogging.

The update: We're all well, and the novel is moving quickly toward its conclusion. We're within days of the finish line.

In other news, Oldest Son has graduated from basketball to street hockey and the Saint is grading senior theses. I think she's ready to hurl them across the room.

I learned to duck last year, so I'll survive.


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Monday, April 02, 2007

Good News and Bad News

I have a new hard drive on my computer. I have my novel. I have internet access.

But I'm still having multiple problems with my computer. I fixed the problem I had with Firefox (I had a little help). Problem 2: Now that the hard drive works, the CD ROM drive has died.

Again, however, I have access to my book, and I'm writing. Trying to see the silver lining, if only so I don't throw this computer through the window.

I haven't made much progress tonight, because I'm spending a ton of time resetting everything, and every time I think I've got a problem solved, I realize I've left something on the old hard drive that I need right now.

Still, a little progress is a good thing.


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Experiencing Technical Difficulties

This blog will be out of commission for a while. I'm not sure how long. My Mac hard drive died last Tuesday and I'm confined to an ancient Windows-based dinosaur.

Yes, I backed up my novel and my family photos. Everything else from the Mac is in limbo at the moment.

I should be back online in a few days.