Tuesday, February 27, 2007

One of Those Days

Ever have one of those days where you get a call from a customer and he says the spreader connector pin holes are not lining up with the arches you sent out? Then you have to spend two hours lining up a welder and going out to the job site while the sun is setting and walking the welder through what new cuts he has to make in the arches only to realize as you drive away when everything is done and packed up that you made a fundamental flaw in your measurements that means the holes still won't line up the next morning and you're going to be right back out there cutting new notches in the arches.

These are the days about which I like to say 'it gives you another opportunity to excel.'

Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Battle of Raven Kill

Started this story over the weekend. I wrote the first couple of pages but it had some point of view problems so I think I'm going to start again. I only had a vague idea of how I wanted to get into the action so I just started typing. As usual, the necessary cast of supporting characters started sprouting up and thus I arrived at the POV issue. I begin with the main character's clan, or what's left of them, huddled by a river and getting the bad news that the bad guys are still after them. The main character, who working name is Oth (which I just realized has a military connection I should have seen before; OTH stands for Other Than Honorable discharge), has a special attribute that will become apparent as the story progresses. This gets foreshadowed by the clan's healer/shaman/wise woman. There's also the clan chief and some other warriors who have bit parts in the beginning. To add to the sense of danger and help raise the stakes that Oth must fight for, I'm also going to throw in some pitiable but oh-so-cute waifs who will be slaughtered if he fails. This all needs to happen by about page three.

However, if I can't pull off a readably tense opening scene then I might just start off with Oth alone on the bridge and do some flashbacks while he fights. Now that I think of it, some flashbacks might be good to plan on. One long extended fight scene that has no change of location could get boring. There has to be some kind of pause in the action to let a reader catch their breath, to introduce some bad guy characters, and to build up the tension as everyone involved starts to realize what they must do. I had originally thought of just writing a bunch of fight scenes and calling it good but when it came to actually writing the thing, I started cooking up other thoughts. In the end, it has to be interesting to me or it just won't get written.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Faith Unleashed

I renamed my story 'Faith' to 'Such Great Faith' and sent two copies off by snail mail to Image and Rock & Sling. Both magazines take weeks to respond so sometime this spring I'll have further updates on its progress.

I also have an idea for a character that's taking shape in my mind and I think he will fit perfectly into the plot I've dreamed up for a story to be called 'The Battle of Raven Kill.' The action centers on one man defending a bridge against a horde of bad guys. If he falls, the bad guys run down his clan and slaughter every one of them. His job is to hold the bridge as long as possible. The bridge is a small, one lane stone path that crosses a deep rushing river known as Raven Kill. 'Kill' is Scottish or Irish (or some such) for 'stream' or 'creek.' Anyhow, it will be fight intensive and the story will hinge on one of the main character's unique traits.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Article Published

The Sword Review has published my article, Rights and the Writer. It's on their front page and you can see it now by following the link to the right. WhooHoo!

Christian Writer's Market Guide

The book arrived yesterday and I'm impressed. Since it's free from the publisher I thought it would be an advanced reading copy (known in the review business as an ARC) made up of photocopied galleys bound with plastic. No, it's the actual book in final form. Therefore i feel honor bound to provide a more detailed review.

If you are thinking of writing for the Christian market like I am, you have to buy this book. It's got an extensive series of lists of resources. Just about everything you would need to find is listed with contact info. Then you have the typical lists of book publishers and periodicals. Well organized, by category, trust me it's great. You also have listings of literary agents which is very handy. Big index in the back and a CD! It's everything you need.

It also arrived just in time. I printed out two copies of 'Faith' and I'm about to send it out to Relief, Rock and Sling, and Image. Now I have other places to look for as well. Happy day!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Hood is Quite Good

Hood is moving into Act Three and it is holding up
quite well. Bran ap Brychan has now taken on the
mantle of King Raven and he haunts the wood with his
band of merry men. (Although this bunch seems more
melancholy and malevolent than merry but with the
Normans as enemies who can blame them.) Merian is the
target of another suitor and that should prove
interesting soon. The wise mentor arrived shortly
before the mid-point in the form of a mysterious woman
of the wood. The Ffreinc characters are well along in
their schemes and subterfuges.

All in all, worth the price of admission.

Friday, February 09, 2007

The Life Lessons

I've started posting some articles on Triond's family of websites. I've decided to use my years of experience with the United States Marine Corps to write a series of self help articles. It's half tongue-in-cheek as I offer advice based on the way Marines look at the world. While looking over some doctrinal publications from the Marine Corps I've realized that war and life are alike in a lot of ways. Anyhow, my first entry is called Life Lessons From the Marines: Core Values.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Probably Triond

OK since the user agreement for Associated Content is a work for hire sort of arrangement I will be signing up with Triond and giving this a go. AC wants all rights to your work and any future derivations. Those are rights I'm not really willing to give up.

I've thought up my first round of topics and I'm going to try a self help series based on my experience in the Marine Corps over the last twenty years. It is called Life Lessons From the Marines and the primary focus will be getting people to pull their head out of whatever body cavity they've inserted it in and do the right thing.

To succeed in content writing you either need to be brilliant or hilarious. Since I often claim to be both, this should be a snap. (Mark this moment so I can be reminded later when and if I need to eat crow.)

Content Writing

I'm thinking about signing up as a content writer with one of the two major websites that do this: Associated Content and Triond. Here are the pros and cons:

Pros:
Possible financial reward, albeit small
Potential name recognition (which has its own pros and cons)
Incentive to write regularly

Cons:
It's hard to make time to write as it is
It's really not fiction, which is what I want to do

So I believe I will dip my little toe in and test the water. I suppose that in the end, it wouldn't hurt and the pros slightly outweigh the cons.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

God Hates the Chicago Bears

This was a pretty good Superbowl as Superbowls go. It was nice to see Peyton Manning finally get his ring. But I loved the GM for the Colts in his little speech accepting the Lombardi trophy. He says what a great team they have and says how God led their team to victory. I'm all for praising God but it's funny to see a sports team credit God with victory. How must that make the other team feel? "Gosh, guys, God just wasn't on our side today."

Tony Dungy had the most thoughtful words when he answered the inevitable question about two black coaches in the Superbowl. He said he was proud to represent African-Americans with the victory but more importantly was that the game was coached by two Christian coaches who proved that it could be done the Lord's way. That was pretty classy.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Another Fun Time Waster

For those of you who need more to do on the internet you may be interested in Facebook. Here's my profile if you are the least bit interested.