The latest in the censorship stupidity at high schools is from Charleston, West Virginia. The school board just banned two more novels. I think my readers will enjoy the rebuttal letter to the editor that the author wrote.

http://www.wvgazette.com/section/News/2007102326

In other news, I had a marvelous holiday weekend with old friends and am looking forward to spending some time with others, this week.

My writing has been a bit off, but I’m giving myself a bit of a break. I did get another couple thousand words on the new novel, so it is up to about 15k now. With any luck, the first draft will be done by Christmas. Some excerpts from it will be coming as I get a bit farther along.

I’ve been reading “1421 The Year China Discovered the World” and I must admit, it answers a whole lot of questions that have been bugging me ever since I was a tourist guide in Mexico City. I can also see how it is stirring up a firestorm of controversy among historians. If you are into history, I would recommend the read.

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Whooopppeeee!!!

November 18, 2007

Well, I was up half the night but it was worth it! I just wrapped up the first draft at 50,141 words! Now it is time to relax, maybe get a little sleep and then work on fleshing out some thin parts and adding some more character details.

Sleep is Good!

November 16, 2007

And believe me, I’m going to grab some sleep, today. I got up to 41,116 words yesterday evening. Only a few more days until company arrives, so I think that Sunday is going to be a marathon session to wind up the tale. I can see some of the closing scenes now.  I hope the whole thing is as exciting to read as some of the individual scenes. Editing will be fun!

Rode Hard and Put Up Wet!

November 15, 2007

Sleep! It is such a wonderful thing! I need to try to get just wee bit more of it…

Anyway, I’m up to 39,213 words and Guardian Dawn is shaping up nicely. I really do have to finish this by Thanksgiving!

37246 on NaNo

November 14, 2007

Yesterday evening, after dinner, I managed to push it to 37246. I actually have several ideas of where I want it to go, but was torn between sequence of scenes. After wasting more than an hour, spinning my wheels, it dawned on me that I was trapped in editing hell!

So, I decided to hell with the sequence… just get them written. That hump is now over and I should be able to get the rest of it out over the next few days.

I keep telling myself, “December is for editing. November is JUST for telling the story.”

But the truth be told, I’m having much more fun with this than I thought I would. Perhaps this IS the proper way to write. We shall see how it all comes out, the first of the year.

Ok, I’ve been lazy!

November 12, 2007

The weekends just seem to bring it out in me ’cause there is always something to do. By the time I get a chance to sit down and write, I’m way too pooped to pucker.

I’m up to 31704 words now and have a pretty good idea where some things are going. One of my characters did surprise me in a dream on Saturday night. I’m just hoping my writing skills are up to making her believable. Vamos a ver, eh?

It also occurred to me that the ‘Pages’ tab was a waste since I do most of my writing commentary here. So I’ll save that tab for something important, later and here are the brief notes that used to be there. Here are some links to other pages that I’ve found useful or informative. Your mileage may vary.

The first and most important is from the Bohemian Word Werks.

He gives the 20 most frustrating blunders that writers commit. I’ll bet you’ll recognize some of them.

Here’s a good one on self-editing: http://tjlittleblog.blogspot.com/2007/10/self-editing.html

Ratatouille, the Movie

November 11, 2007

Well, I finally saw the Pixar animation, Ratatouille the other day and I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised. It’s a pretty good family movie. I supposed I should get over being surprised at good films from Pixar, but it looks like they’ve found the secret to bringing CGI to life and making us laugh.

Which brings me to why I bothered to mention it here, where you’re used to seeing me rant about writing and an occasional geek moment. The answer is pure geek.

Throughout this movie, I was amazed at how well the modeled rat movements as well as the various textures of fur… wet, neat, groomed, shocked, etc. If you’re familiar with the process of 3D computer modeling of humans and animal, then you’ll know that getting the hair right is incredibly difficult. Not only do they have it right in a few closeups, but throughout the movie.

It’s worth a peek, friends.

Guardian Dawn is at 29,260

November 10, 2007

I’m well into the second half now and the tale is shaping up nicely. I love it when the characters take over the story and I’m just typing like mad. Here’s another (very rough draft) excerpt from this work in progress:

Crimson Sun

The owner of the upscale topless club was enjoying a medium-rare steak with red potatoes and a lager, while sitting at his desk. Out the slanted and mirrored window, he had a clear view of the main floor, with two island bars. Each bar had a dance runway with a brass pole on each end and a stairway in the middle that led up to the dressing room and cat walk to the other runway. Since it was later in the evening, the place was full, four girls were dancing the runways and two more were on the oval stage over by the private party booths.

He pressed the intercom button.

“Yeah, boss?”

“When Tina and Dahlia finish their set, tell them to stop by my office.”

“You got it.”

This club was Tony’s favorite of the five he owned. It just had a real good ambiance and he like the laid-back, West Palm Beach atmosphere better than the glitz down on South Beach or all the over-the-hill tourists in Ybor City.

A few minutes later, there was a knock on his door. “Come in!”

“Good evening, Mr. Khale.” Dahlia was Latina with a petite natural beauty and outgoing personality that just blew you away. She was also all business woman and could tell you to the dollar, how much she earned in any given night. She had confessed one evening, that she was planning on retiring by the time she turned thirty. From what he had heard of her investments and frugality, it just might be possible.

“Hi, Boss!” The blond goddess following her through the door was tall, slender and sporting the best tits money could buy. Too many people tended to underestimate her, because of her appearance. In the year he had known her, she had been juggling dancing at the club with bit parts in two movies and more than a dozen modeling gigs.

Both of them were wearing what they had left the stage with… That is, glittering g-strings, a garter on one thigh and clear plastic platforms with 6” heels.

“I know it’s your break time ladies, so I won’t keep you too long.”

“No problem, Boss. What’s up?”

“The Hottest Dancer contest that has been going on between all the clubs for the past six months ended last week. I just got the final count of all those dance tokens that your customers have been using to vote. Just to refresh your memories… the woman with the most tokens is, by definition, the most popular in that club. The woman with the highest number among all the clubs is the hottest in Florida. Since I have five clubs, in the club with the Hottest lady, the second place winner is also included.”

Tina clapped her hands in excitemen. “Did one of us win?”

“Actually Tina, according to all the numbers I’ve seen, you are the Hottest Lady in Florida.”

“Wow! That is just great!” She was jubilant.

“And you, Dahlia, are the runner up in this club, so you are going with us as well.”

“That is great! But, what do you mean? Going where?”

“You’ll recall there are two prizes for each of the six winners. There is a substantial cash bonus award…”

Both ladies became visibly more excited at that idea.

“But the really important prize is the modeling contract and fringe benefits.” He smiled as he saw the questions start to come over their faces.

He held up a hand. “This year, instead of the usual Club Newsletter and PoleDanz Magazine photospread, we’re adding something extra.” He handed each of them several 8×10 photos of a luxury yacht at sea and tied up to a pier.

“The corporation has been doing well the last few years, so we invested in a new publicity vehicle.” He was smiling. “Next month, the Mammon is going to take a leisurely three-day cruise to the Virgin Islands. Once there, we will have a four-day photo shoot with you two and the winners from each of the other clubs. We’ve negotiated a deal with PoleDanz Magazine to release a “Year of Dance” calendar and you ladies are each going to have a month. The magazine has had its own contest for the other six months. After the shoot, we are going to spend three more days cruising the islands and then a four-day run up to Baltimore, where you are all going to be in a bikini fashion show that is designed to brighten up a dull winter weekend. It’s being sponsored by a group of local clubs, the magazine and the swimsuit designer.”

Dahlia cut right to the meat of the issue. “How much are we going to make and what about airfare, travel expenses, meals and all the rest?”

“That is what I meant by fringe benefits. Not only are you going to get your normal modeling fees for the photo shoot, but you are also getting paid a generous per diem while traveling. We’re treating this as a vacation holiday. The Mammon has eight, double-occupancy guest cabins and a crew of six. We’re going to video tape the entire trip as well as the bikini show and that is going to be made into a one hour ‘Insider’s Special’. Within six months, it will be sold both from our website and from the each of the bars. You are not only going to be Video Vixens, but your contracts includes royalties.”

Dahlia’s grin grew even larger. “Very nice! Thank you, Sir. When do we leave?”

Past the Halfway Mark

November 9, 2007

Well, I’m at 26,164 words in the NaNo challenge. Just past the halfway point to 50,000 and the story is fleshing itself out, nicely. Now I am into the setup for the final conflict.

23201 Words in NaNoWriMo!

November 8, 2007

Well, I was productive yesterday evening. I managed to wrap up a whole bunch of really exciting scenes that I’ve been slowly sneaking up on. Now, it’s time for some mid-novel answers that not surprisingly, set the stage for the grand finale.