Sunday, February 27, 2005

Sahara Ice - Easy to Assemble

Just thought I should mention that Easy to Assemble, the newest issue of Sahara Ice is now up at Fallen Angel Reviews. It's pretty funny, though it's a tough act to follow after my last issue Men: An Owner's Manual, which is archived on the site along with all the FAR back issues.

Sahara Ice is my longest running column, and remains my favorite. I hope you enjoy reading it, as much as I enjoy writing it.

Saturday, February 26, 2005


Well, it's finally done. Consigned to Darkness is ready to go to editing. I can't believe it.

The final draft topped out at just under 90,000 words, quite a long novel for me (though not as long as the first book in the series which is over 115,000 words). Still, it's quite an accomplishment. I feel like getting drunk (and I never do that).

Tonight we're going to go out to dinner and celebrate and tomorrow, I am taking the day off. No writing for one day. Well, maybe just a little. Emails and such. Maybe even a blog entry. Who knows?

In any event, it's time for me to relax. Yay me!

Youth in Asia

My micro-fiction story Euthanasia will appear in the premiere issue of a brand new ezine Nimue's Grotto. Those of you familiar with Arthurian legend will no doubt recognize the reference. Those of you who aren't...well that's why God invented the Internet.

I don't usually give stories away for free anymore but I did with this one, for two reasons. One, my friend Michael Kechula is the Senior Editor of Nimue's Grotto and he asked me to. Secondly, it's the shortest story I've ever written. Weighing in at under 250 words, it takes up a mere third of a page.

Nimue's Grotto should make it's debut in April, 2005, so watch this space for a url.

Friday, February 25, 2005


At night, the sound of insects was so loud, nothing else could be heard. Only during a thunderstorm did the insects quiet down.

This two sentences above come from chapter ten of Consigned to Darkness. I wasn't sure I liked the way quiet down sounded, so I turned to dana. She suggested I should use the word quieten (which also can be used in the past tense, quietened).

I have never heard this word. I didn't believe there was such a word. Quieten? You're making it up.

I typed it in just to look at it. It looked wrong. It couldn't be a word. My spell checked didn't much like it either.

So dana looked it up in the dictionary. Sure enough, quieten and quietened is a word though I refuse to use it, because it just looks wrong.

This is not the first time dana and I have come head to head over word usage and pronunciation. It happens rather a lot. Past discussions have covered pumas, capillaries, Adidas, soldering irons and fillets. I had thought I'd heard it all...I was wrong.

But I still can't bring myself to use quietened in my story, so I will probably leave the sentence unchanged.

Yes, I am typing in chapter ten corrections (I actually added two brand new pages to the chapter), and I have started editing chapter eleven. By the end of the weekend, this book will be ready to go off to the editors. Good riddance I say. By the time I'm through editing a book, I never want to see it again.

Fortunately, that doesn't last all that long, but man, editing is work. I'm only typing this entry so I can take a break from it. I can procrastinate with the best of them.

Still, with only three chapters and an epilogue left to do, you'd think I'd be working harder just to get it done.

Oh, well, back to work with me.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Planet Ds Tier Three Ships

After a considerable deal, Tier Three of Planet Ds with the new dana cover was sent out today. Hopefully, now that dana's computer is back up and running, the next issue should be more timely.

Actually, the MS Reader version is not yet available. Unfortunately, it takes far longer to get the MS Reader version laid out correctly than the PDF version. New subscribers won't be given a choice, because once we get rid of the four MS Reader subscribers we have, we'll be cancelling the format.

The problem is simple. Are there people who won't subscribe because it doesn't come in MS Reader format? I guess I'll find out soon enough.

I've finally finished entering the edits for chapter eight of Consigned to Darkness btw, and I've received edits from Allie Bates for the introduction and the first chapter, which I still have to go over. Oh well, I'm shot. Tomorrow is another day.

In the meantime, back to work with me.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Thank You Jaynie

It was awfully nice of you to post such a lovely promo of Planet Ds. Yay you. You did a great job. Take a bow.

I added a comment of my own, because I'm that kind of guy.

Since I'm already talking to you, I guess I'll say I finished typing in the chapter four corrections in Consigned to Darkness, and started on chapter five. I added a great scene yesterday night, so I'm pretty excited.

I still haven't started editing chapter six, but hope to have it done before I go to bed tonight.

Thanks again for the promo!

It Never Ends

Would someone please tell me why nothing can ever go smoothly?

Okay, I really have nothing to complain about. Nothing at all. I am doing the job I love, I have a great wife, I have great stepsons, and a dog that grates, but that's okay cause I love her anyway. I'm doing just fine.

Today, I did a tarot reading for a friend of a friend, who bought an autographed copy of the print version of Dream Sequence. You gotta love that.

Of course that took me out of the house for hours (I didn't read and run) and when I got home, an author friend of mine needed to chat with me, while her dog was going through surgery. Not the kind of guy to turn away a friend in need, I chatted until my fingers were about to fall off. Finally it's time to work.

Twice today, my computer reset mid-stride. It had never done that before. When I touched the back of my machine, it was hot. The fan on the power supply wasn't turning. This is a relatively new machine, that is still under warranty. It was also purchased off ebay. I can't take the time to deal with the supplier, I have a book to edit.

Fortunately, we have a spare computer in the house that we were supposed to sell when I got this one. So I scavened a power supply out of it, and I'm back in business.

Then I finished editing chapter five of Consigned to Darkness and now I just have to type in the corrections from chapters four and five to be on schedule.

I also managed to do some work on the Chronicles of Gondylar glossary today, before we left for my tarot reading appointment. I'm rereading A Leaf in the Wind in one window and flicking back and forth to a database, in which I enter the name, place or thing, along with a description. It's a lot of work, but it will be worth it in the end.

Of course, I still have the power supply issue to deal with, but at least my machine is up and running.

Oh, this new power supply is somewhat noisier than the old one and is giving both me and dana a headache. It whines (sort of like my first wife). I didn't say that. I would never say that. It would imply I listened to her.

Anyway, I'm getting back to work. I have an awful lot of corrections to type in.

Friday, February 18, 2005

The Only Way to Deal with a Full Plate, is to get a Bigger Plate

I've finished editing chapter four of Consigned to Darkness on paper, but have made no further progress on entering the corrections from chapter three. Since I'm running behind, what did I do?

I started a glossary of names, places and significant items from A Leaf in the Wind to include in the sequel. I didn't have enough on my plate, you understand.

My father once said to me, "The more you do, the more you can do." For many years I repeated that quote and meant it. It seemed very much like it was true. When I wasn't working, I got precious little accomplished and everything was forced. When I was working, I was doing more on the side as well. I guess it all has to do with inertia. A body in motion tends to stay in motion; a body at rest tends to stay at rest.

I guess this means I'm in motion.

As the years passed, however, I began to see things a bit differently. Just because you can do more, doesn't mean it's better to do more. Sometimes, it's better to do less and not drive yourself so hard. See that's my problem.

When I'm not working, I get stressed because I'm not getting enough done. When I am working, I'm biting off more than I can chew and I get stressed anyway. I haven't found the way to destress yet. I can watch television, but always in the back of my mind, the work waiting for me is still there.

There is no one standing over me. No boss telling me what to do. No official deadline that I can miss if I finish the book a week or two later.

Yet, I have two writing careers and if I want to get two books out a year under each name, I need to complete a book every three months. The book I'm working on is 90,000 words, which puts it towards the top of my word count list. A Leaf in the Wind and Dream Sequence and other Tales from Beyond are the only ones longer.

The answer, of course, is to start a glossary to run concurrently with the editing, so that they can both be finished in eight days time.

I think it takes a certain kind of crazy to be a career writer. I'm just hoping I can physically hold it together long enough to finish this edit.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

A Turn for the Worse

Authors always have problem words--words that they use to excess. Sometimes those words are unusual, but sometimes they're common words that somehow filtered into the author's writing, pretty much on their own. To the author, these words are invisible, but to a decent editor, they are obvious.

In my early work, everyone was always smiling. Constantly. He smiled, she smiled, they smiled, smile, smile, smile. Not a good thing. They were usually smiling while they were speaking, which is even worse.

So I consciously eliminated all that smiling from my books. Considering how dark a lot of my early work was, most of my characters didn't have that much to smile about anyway.

Unfortunately, like a person who gives up smoking and ends up eating too much, another of those words became more prevalent in my writing. Suddenly, there was a whole lot less smiling and a whole lot more sighing. This was a bad thing, because sighs are somewhat more intrusive than smiles, and they were everywhere. Admittedly, there was probably more to sigh about in my early work than smile, so it seemed to fit, but again, it was over done.

I got rid of sighing, only to have to battle a barrage of thats certainlies and howevers.

I think I did a pretty good job and I was feeling confident, when I noticed that one word had gotten by everyone for years.

I'm editing Consigned to Darkness and everyone is turning. They turn to say things, they turn to study things, they turn to leave. Everyone is turning. Don't they get dizzy? I would if I turned that much. So now I've gone on a rampage, deleting most of the turns from my book. One good turn isn't my problem--it's the dozens of bad ones I have to look out for.

I'm still entering chapter two edits into the computer, and then I have to edit chapter three. However, I looked ahead and there are three really long chapters in the book, and chapters two and three are two of them, so I might be able to stay on a one chapter a day schedule, which means ten days until this book is ready to pass on to my editors.

I'll be glad to get it off my plate, because I have a new issue of Planet Ds to write and I have to start Earth Scorched, the sequel to my science fiction erotica novel Scorch.

There's never a dull moment.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Some Days You Get the Bear, Some Days the Bear Gets You

After several good days, I finally remembered just how much hard work editing is.

Usually I edit on screen, but today I printed chapter two and three of Consigned to Darkness. I did manage go get through editing all of chapter two (20 single-spaced pages), and even started chapter three, but I've only just begun to type the corrections into the computer.

I had been hoping to do two chapters a day. I see now this is a pipe dream.

It's not a question of time, but rather how long your mind will stay sharp if you overextend yourself. By adding a week onto the time it takes to finish this, I'll have a cleaner manuscript. At least, that's the theory.

I might have a few shorter chapters mixed in, which might speed up the process, but right now, I'm running two weeks over schedule already. Good thing I'm an understanding boss or I'd fire me.

It's only 10:30 pm and I feel like I've been hit by a truck. Mental exhaustion. Not enough sleep. Doing too much on a constant basis.

Sooner or later, you're going to miss a deadline, forget a plotline or simply run out of steam. It's okay as long as you remember.

Sometimes you get the bear...

This Has Been Some Day

I've just found out that my Extasy book Slave Heart is a finalist in the Literary Nymph's 2005 Enda Awards, in the erotic BDSM category. I have to say, I'm pleasantly surprised.

Surviving the first round, however, is not winning the contest. Winners will be announced sometime in March. I'm not sure if I'm looking forward to it. That moment when you're a finalist is nice, because have achieved an honor, even if you don't win. But on the day, if someone else beats you out, even if you really like their work, it doesn't feel like an honor.

I also received an acceptance letter from Alien Skin Magazine for my short story A Matter of Grave Importance. This is my only vampire story to date. I said I wouldn't write one unless I had something different to say, which I finally did. It will be published in the April/May issue.

I've finished editing Consigned to Darkness through Chapter One and it's coming along swimmingly (I've always wanted to type that word). Here is the briefest of excerpts:

Kestryl felt his control slipping. “You stain the memory of the Duchess Amalga. I’m glad Dathan does not live to see what has become of his throne. I have come to set things right. Stand and defend yourself.”

“You’re mad. I’m not going to fight you.”

“I thought that might be the case, but it doesn’t matter. I will kill you in cold blood if I must.”

“You’ll kill me anyway.” Theraint stood. “What about it, Kestryl. I thought you were a man of honor. Surely, you wouldn’t attack an unarmed man.”

“Don’t count on it.”

Kestryl leapt forward. Theraint had no time to react before Kestryl caught his him by the throat.

“Your honor…” croaked Theraint.

“There is no honor in killing you, but there is less in letting you live, Sheba forgive me.”

It's 1:30 am and I'm too tired to start the next chapter. I was hoping to do two a day. Perhaps tomorrow will be more productive.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Where the Hell Did All These Horses Come From?

The Chronicles of High Gondylar take place on a world called Corithim, a world that exists nowhere but in my mind.

I'm in the process of writing Consigned to Darkness, the second book of the trilogy, when I started thinking about horses. Horses are native to Earth. The odds of them existing in any other world are neglible.

Which brings me to a problem. Do I edit out horses from the series and replace them with some exotic mount, like a cordefau, or a gizzlygoon? I think not.

The characters in my book are riding some creature that is roughly the equivlant of a horse. To them, it is a horse (since they haven't seen what we call a horse). I think it's better to use the word horse, showing how the characters relate to their steeds, because the description of the animal has nothing to do with the plot. They are there for a reason. To ride from one point to another. To carry warriors into battle. To steal, if you happen to be a horse thief.

There isn't a single converation in the book that takes place in English. English doesn't exist on Corithim. People might be speaking Talovarian, Dominian or Gondylarian, but they don't speak English. So as long as I'm translating character's conversations to English, why not just call their mounts horses. For all intents and purposes, that's what they are.

For this reason, I tend not to use archaic language when writing fantasy. This isn't taking place on Earth in the dark ages. This takes place on Corithim toward the end of the twelfth century. It's a different world. Different things exist.

When my characters speak, they are speaking their native tongue and it doesn't sound formal or stilted to them. When Tanrif says something, it sounds casual to him, as my words do when I speak. So I translate that into easily understood English that gives you the impression of what he's saying.

When he regains consciousness in the Darkdom of Vikon in A Leaf in the Wind, Tanrif says, "It's too dark to be heaven and too cold to be hell. I must still be alive."

The concepts of heaven and hell are restricted to Earth. They don't exist on Corithim, but some analogy of them does, so when I'm translating, I can use the words heaven and hell.

I like to think this makes my books easy to read, intuitive even. I'd rather spend my time building character's personalities than inventing a new creature for them to ride around on--a horse by any other name.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Sometimes, Articles Just Happen

Yesterday, dana and I got a rolling wire-basket cart. At 3 am last night, I put the thing together. It shouldn't have been hard. It only had six pieces and casters and four of those pieces were baskets. This doesn't take a degree in engineering, even if I wish the idiot who designed it had taken one. What a mess!

Anyway, the entire situation was so ludicrous, the thing was so badly designed, I based my next issue of Sahara Ice around it and wrote it last night, after I told you I was going to sleep. As tired as I was, the muse comes first.

Today I got up, edited it, editing the Leaf synopsis again (for inclusion in Consigned to Darkness) and typed in the edits I received from Kathi Lowther for Luna Rising. She did a good job for me, but dana will still look at it, before I send it off to Extasy Books. I am so glad that's done with.

I have one more go through on my Sahara Ice article before I send it off to Fallen Angel Reviews and then I'm going to start my read through of the Consigned to Darkness prologue, surely the darkest chapter I've ever written. I can't imagine what possessed me.

Oh, yes, I spent much of the afternoon creating a collage of my book covers for The Master Nage Portal page at . This is the best way to get to my erotica work. The collage, for anyone interested, is the center picture.

This was a much more difficult project than it should have been, mostly because I didn't realize that the background layer of a Paint Shop Pro image can't be made transparent. I'd wanted the collage to sit right on the background of the page, but so far, it is not to be. I haven't given up hope yet. Somewhere there is a solution and I'm going to find it (in my copious free time).

oh, in case you're wondering, Kayla Kuffs loved the article I sent in to the Dominants View Ezine and I made a deal with her about sponsoring my own column. She actually felt bad about charging me, so I'm giving away a print copy of Master Nage's Guide to Training Consensual Slaves for one of their contests. That will get me a banner right on the page with my column. All in all, a good deal for both of us.

Tonight's television consists of The Apprentice and Crossing Jordan, which will be my only break for the day.

5:13 AM and I'm Starting to See Things

Well, I swore I'd get Luna done, and dagnabbit, Luna Rising is done, such as it is. I did bring it up to over 5000 words and improved it at the same time, which makes me a happy writer.

In fact, I'm so proud of it, here's a brief, unedited excerpt...

“Hello, Jax.”

“Luna, what are you doing here? You are not scheduled for a mission.”

“I just wanted to talk. Do you have a moment?”

“Of course, Luna. What can I do for you?”

I studied him. He was so like Jerico—blond-haired, blue-eyed, and physically perfect— I shuddered, but I was in too much pain to become aroused. It wouldn't have mattered. His lifeless eyes and voice did nothing for me.

“I need to tell you something important...”

I opened my mouth to reveal the traitor for what he was. I tried to force the words out, but pain engulfed me. I fell to my knees then to the floor, clutching my stomach. I felt as if someone had jabbed a flaming spear into my small intestine.
“Luna, are you all right?”

I tried again, but the pain intensified until I wanted to die.

I won’t say anything. Please. Stop. Your secret is safe with me.

Almost at once the pain subsided, leaving me panting and gasping on the metal control room floor. There were no flux walls in the control room; there was no need for them. Only hard, cold metal, as hard as the fear beginning to form in my heart. I could not betray the dermagen even if it meant the end of existence as I knew it.

Yes, I know, it's a tease, but I can't help it.

I also played a bit with a graphics program tonight, Picasa, which is free and great fun, and created a nice collage for my books link at . Of course that's my erotica page, so if you don't like sex, you might not want to go there.

Anyway, it's time for me to ride modestly off into the sunset.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

To Curse or not to Curse...

That is the question. I've been thinking about it. I almost used profanity in my last post and and the last minute veered away from it. Why, you might ask? I wish I could tell you. I've been asking myself that very same question.

I mean, since half my career is erotica, I wouldn't think this would be an appropriate place for a kid to visit so I don't have to worry about an age limitation. I offend people regularly enough with my writing that you think I'd be used to it, certainly beyond the point of not cursing. So why did I make a conscious decision to write around a single word?

Even in my stories, I'll often say "He cursed" instead of revealing the actual curse. Dana pointed that out to me. Why write a book with all sorts of explicit sexual scenes built into it, and say "he cursed". Maybe it's just a bad habit from fantasy writing, but even in fantasy books today, people curse.

One of my favorite openings of anything I've written is the beginning of my short story Tales from Beyond. I reproduce it here, because I want to talk about it.

Eric Darkling stared up at me from behind a cluttered desk. Perhaps, it was an expensive one, but not enough of it was visible to make that determination. In the corner of the room stood a man, not unlike a wax casting. I wasn't even certain he was alive, until I saw him blink.

"Why are you here?" Darkling snapped.

"I'm here to apply for the job," I said, as calmly as I could under the circumstances.

"Mr. Masterson, WHY ARE YOU HERE?"

I licked my lips and wondered if I’d somehow showed up on the wrong day. "The people at the employment agency...."

He cut me off. "I don't care," he said softly, "if the people at the agency flew you here in a DIRIGIBLE. WHY ARE YOU HERE?"

"I'm here because I feel that working for you will be the kind of experience...."

He didn't wait for me to finish. "WHY ARE YOU HERE?"


The man in the corner had no more reaction to my outburst than to the rest of the interview, but I was mortified. This was Eric Darkling, creator of the hit TV series Tales from Beyond, the greatest speculative fiction writer since Rod Serling. I felt I'd made a terrible mistake.

"I'm sorry, Mr. Darkling."

"Don't apologize. What do I look like, your mother? That's the first rule. Never apologize for anything. If you do something I really don't like, I'll stab you in the eye with my letter opener. Now, why is it that you want to work for me?"

I was beginning to catch on. He wanted me to think. Whatever the standard answer, this man expected... no, demanded more.

"I want to make money."

"BULLSHIT! If you wanted to make money, you'd be anyplace but here. I've read your resume, seen your portfolio. You're a fine writer. You don't need me."

"You're wrong. I do need you, because though I am a fine writer, you're the icon. Who better to learn from? Do you think I want to subject myself to another critique group, surrounded by intellectual snobs that wouldn't know satire if it bit them in the ass? Do you think I want to spend the rest of my life selling short stories for a pittance? Oh no, Mr. Darkling. I want more from life. I want to fly. I want other people to look at me in awe. I want people to read my work and say, ‘that Asimov, he was okay, but Masterson, he's a writer’."

Suddenly, the room became very quiet. Even the man in the corner, the waxman, seemed more still than he had been a moment before. I could feel the pulse beating in my temple. My secret vision, a dream I’d shared with no one, had emerged from my lips unbidden. As a teenager, I had worshipped Asimov, so much so that my words now seemed almost blasphemous. I held my breath, waiting for a reply.

Darkling stared at me for a few long moments before breaking into a grin. "Welcome aboard, Mr. Masterson. I can call you Dan, can't I?"

Without another word, he tossed me a manuscript.

"Read it. Let me know what you think."

He turned away and attacked the keys of his antiquated typewriter before I had the chance to answer.

The reason I include this excerpt (the entire story is available in the fiction section of my Dream Sequence Webpage for those interested) is that I wanted to illustrate a point.

I used the word fucked in this story, but during the editing process, I kept trying to replace it with screwed. It didn't work, of course. It wasn't nearly powerful enough to elicit the required reaction, but still, I kept trying. I was resistant to using profanity in a story. I'm happy to say that I have, for the most part, gotten over it.

So in the future, you might see any of the following words on this page:

fuck, shit, cock, cunt, pussy, asshole, cocksucker, mother fucker and lowly, scum-sucking dog whore. I make no apologies about it.

As a writer, words are my tool. Just as an artist wouldn't rule certain shades out of their creative process, so I will not limit what words I can and can't use to express myself.

Okay, So I Lied

I said I wasn't going to make corrections in my writer's journal. Immediately after I wrote the last entry, I noticed several mistakes. I was going to ignore them, I really was, but they kept taunting me. Jeering at me. Shouting at me. So I changed them. Sue me. I'm not doing full edits, but if I happen to notice a typo, I apparently do not have the ability to leave it alone. Sucks to be me.

I had a two hour time slot at the Fallen Angel Reviews Valentine's Day Chat on the FAR Chatters Yahoo list. I think it went okay. I posted excerpts from A Cure for the Common Curse, Luna Waning, Luna Waxing, Luna Rising, Planet Ds , Scorch and Master Nage's Guide to Training Consensual Slaves. I gave away four Planet Ds mini-subscriptions (3 issues), one full subscription and a copy of Cure. I also got several new subscribers for my not yet published Master Nage newsletter, which I've been planning on putting out forever. Now that I have the subscribers, I hope to do just that.

I haven't written yet today, but I'm determined to finish Luna tonight if it kills me, which it probably will. We've gotten all the data off dana's drive and onto DVDs. I'm currently in the process of formatting her drive, after which we still have to install XP and put everything back on. I'm sooooo tired. But I WILL finish Luna tonight. You can bet your bottom dollar on it.

Actually finish is a pretty strong word. I will do what I believe will be my final edit on it. Whether or not it is remains to be seen.

I really can't wait to get her back up and running so I can get the first cluster of Planet Ds Tier Three out to my subscribers. I so hate being late with stuff. Drives me nuts.

Anyway, I'll probably drop by later and tell you how Luna goes. If I have time, I might even work on the synopsis of A Leaf in the Wind, though that's not my priority. It never ends--at least, I hope it never will.

The Unedited Truth

As a writer, a journal should reflect a certain professional quality, particularly when it appears publicly. That is true in almost all cases, and I don't care. I'm not editing these posts.

I did proof the first couple and make a couple of corrections, but I'm not going to. This is my personal diary, in which I'm allowing anyone interested a voyeuristic seat in the proverbial front row. That's it. If I was writing it for myself, would I sit and edit it? Of course not.

With all the projects I have going, I do plenty of editing. Will I correct a typo if I notice it? Sure. Am I going to worry about it? Nope. I worry too much as it is.

Well dana's machine is coming along. I still haven't formatted the drive, but we do have a large amount of her data backed up to DVDs now, so we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

In the mean time, I did a read through the final installment in the Luna trilogy of short stories today, and had a nasty surprise.

For some reason, I thought Luna Rising is the longest of the three stories, when in reality it is the shortest. I hate doing that to readers--giving them less, particularly at the end. I'd rather give them more. So I went back, did a bit of rewriting, and added about 600 words to it, so far. It's up to about 4300 words now. It will probably be a bit longer when it's done, which means it's still shorter than the first two stories, but I don't think it can be helped. I refuse to pad a story. If I can write something good, I'll do it, but I won't just add to add.

Of course this means another day before I get back to Consigned to Darkness, setting me back three days total, but I really need the rest. Anyway, none of my first readers have gotten back to me to tell me they've finished Leaf yet, so I have a bit of time I suppose. I should probably email them instead of waiting, but I'm curious to see what happens if I don't. I always love to test human nature.

In any event, tomorrow I WILL finish of Luna and get it to the editors so the day after, I can get back to Consigned to Darkness.

Oh, another thing happened today. Kayla Kuffs, editor of The Domsview Ezine (in which I have my regular column Master-D-bates), messaged me this morning to let me know she didn't have my current column. I had thought I'd started one, but can't find hide nor hair of it, so I was forced to sit down and write a column quickly, off the top of my head. I tend to do this rather well, and most of the work I come up with that way is very good. So I wrote my column subtitled, "Alternatives to Physical Punishment", which will appear in the next issue of the Dom's View.

And those of you who are waiting for the next issue of Planet Ds, it will still take a couple of days to get dana's drive sorted, afterwhich it will be laid out and sent. I hate being on time with writing something, only to have it delayed by matters beyond my control. In a word, argggggggggghhhhhhhh.

Oh well. I can't get aggravated over what can't be helped. I just hope my subscribers understand.

Oh, yeah, one more thing. Back issues of Xodtica Magazine (which hosts my Ask Master Nage column) are now available through Extasy Books. Since the first three installments of Planet Ds are included in the last and next two issues of Xodtica, this should be pretty good promotion for me. I can hope anyway. Always looking to promote where I can.

Which reminds me, I'll be a guest on the Fallen Angel Review Chatters list from 8PM to 10PM EST on Saturday night. That's US EST not Australian EST. In any event, I'll be chatting as part of the FAR Valentine's Day Chat, so if you're on that list, why not drop by? It will be entertaining to say the least.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Damn I'm Good

Okay, I still haven't done any writing, but after more than 24 hours of hard work, I've managed to recover most of the data on dana's hard drive. I couldn't do this myself, so I can't take the credit for it. In the end, it took a purchase of a $79US program called Get Data Back NTFS to finish the job.

Of course, when the job started, her machine couldn't even boot into windows with her crashed drive in the machine, even if it wasn't the drive trying to boot. Even if it was on another IDE chain! It took me fourteen hours to get to the point where I could boot a windows operating system with that drive in a machine, afterwhich we tried a few programs, before I broke down and spent the money.

Admittedly, it's money we can't afford, but just as much, I can't afford to lose dana's edits and artwork, so there you have it. The day from hell in the life of a writer. And all's well that ends well.

We're currently in the process of copying the data she needs to save to my hard drive from hers and from there, I'll burn it to DVD.

I still have to go through the process then of formatting her drive and getting it all set up again, but at least most of her data has been saved. Yay me. Yay Get Data Back.

The bottom line, of course, is that poor Luna will probably have to wait one more day. This has been a bad couple of days to start a writing diary. lol

Sometimes the Language Betrays You

I just had a conversation with Allie Bates, one of women who edits my work. She has edited a number of my stories and articles for free, or at least for the pleasure she gets from reading my work (her words, not mine).

Recently, I sent her a copy of A Leaf in the Wind, which she hadn't yet read. Since she's planning on editing the sequel, I figured she should read the first one for the sake of continuity. Here is a piece of our AIM chat from earlier today...

Allie: why i was doing the synopsis... I don't usually.
ACreativeEdge: I already did one. You read my mind (such as it is) lol
Allie: I lost chapter 5-12 and was going to go back and do them
ACreativeEdge: don't bother. Just read it and enjoy
Allie: I missed how Tanrif got Fireball back. I was going to go back and see
The stableboy is paid with a blade to release the horse for Galith to track and I want to go back and see where he got Fireball back
ACreativeEdge: when did he lose fireball? It's never stated directly and shouldn't have to be
Allie: I went back to read over if he was paid to pretend to have released him...
ACreativeEdge: Tanrif is staying at the shop of Demendil. That's where the horse was taken. Lylea took the horse so the Assassin's couldn't track him. That's all. The idea is, to make them think Tanrif has left. It was just Lylea being Lylea. She goes, trades a Demendil dagger for the horse and brings the horse to the shop.That's it. There's no real mystery to it.
Allie: Ah, but end of ch 5 where the stableboy...I just assumed fireball ran home or something
ACreativeEdge: huh????? What are you talking about? Let me open the file.
Allie: k
ACreativeEdge: I'm there. I just read the scene in the stable and I have not the foggiest idea what you're talking about
Allie: All he had to do is release the young man's horse and lie to anyone who came asking about it
ACreativeEdge: hahahaha

And of course, I see the problem. If you live in a city and work somewhere, to release something is to let it go to someone. I used to work in a computer store that did repairs, and we used to release computers to people all the time. They had to sign release forms.

Of course, if you live in a rural area in the south, you're far more likely to think of releasing a horse as releasing it into the wild.

It never would have occured to me to think that someone would think the stablehand just let the horse go, when the young lady who gave him the dagger is right there. In my mind, he released the horse to HER.

I was completely oblivious to what most would say is the more obvious meaning.

Now I have to sit around and worry about how many people reading the first volume (which is already published), are wondering how Tanrif's horse got back to him.

Fortunately I have more editors and readers now than I did back then. My early books don't have nearly the quality of editing my later books do. They're still good books, but I wince sometimes, when I read them. I guess we all grow.

Fortunately, most of the people who read my work seem to enjoy the older work as much as the newer, so I've been pretty fortunate.

And now, back to trying to get dana's computer up and running.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

It Never Rains...

Well, I didn't get the Luna edit done today as planned. I didn't do much of anything today. Dana's computer crashed and I have spend hours trying to fix it. More accurately, I have spent hours trying to save her data. Some of it is backed up, but she stands to lose a lot.

One thing I did think about and wanted to mention was the date sync. Because I'm living in Tasmania, the dates on some of these posts are actually wrong. For example, it's already Friday February 11th here, even though this will show up as posted sometime on February 10th. This doesn't particularly bother me, but it was interesting to note.

Oh well, back to working on dana's hard drive. Wish me luck!

Always Between One Thing and Another

When my good friend Aaron told me about, I thought, great, another blog site. But I see the advantages in this site and don't use my live journal often enough, so here I am. Origami Salad is going to be a writer's journal for me. A record of what I was doing and when (and maybe sometimes even how and why).

I have just finished the rough draft of the rewrite of my fantasy novel Consigned to Darkness, the second book in the Chronicles of High Gondylar. That was yesterday. The rough draft was actually finished the day before yesterday. Yesterday I wrote the synopsis for the first book (A Leaf in the Wind), which will be included in the second book for those who need a reminder. Hey, the plots in this trilogy are relatively complex.

Two days ago I changed the name of Book Three of that same series from The Price of Freedom (a very much overused name) to Ioranna's Ransom, suggested by my lovely wife (and consensual slave) dana. She is almost as much a part of my writing career as I am at this point, being my first reader, my last reader, my editor and, in many cases, my layout person and cover artist. You can't beat that with a stick. And if you tried, she'd probably enjoy it.

Yesterday I wrote my fourth issue of Ask Master Nage: An Irreverent Advice Column published in each issue of Xodtica Ezine. Xodtica is a bimonthly erotic romance magazine. Ask Master Nage is, as implied by the title, a way for me to give advice in my own inimicable style. This means it's best when I'm annoyed at something. This month, one of the questions annoyed me.

I'm part of a nonfiction online critique group called Muse Deliberators. I don't think it's working for me, and don't have the time to do justice to the critiques, nor do I feel most of the critiques I've gotten have done me much good. I'm probably going to resign from it, before it's time for me to send my next piece. It's just too much, with not enough benefit.

Toward that end, I've recently started interviewing first and last readers, extra pairs of eyes that can read either my fantasy, nonfiction or erotica. It's a nonpaying position, but there are enough people who love my work that like the idea of seeing it before anyone else. I should count myself among the blessed.

Today I have to edit the last part of the Luna trilogy of short stories, Luna Rising. This is erotica, written under my erotica pen name, Master Nage. Luna is time-travel, science fiction erotica. Since my science fiction seems to be going over well, I figured I'd try a bit of time travel. Because I don't have the stomach (or time) for a lot of research, I decided to go with the short story format and use research I've already done for other stories. Why waste good research?

Hopefully I'll finish Luna today, and leave it in the hands of my editors, so I can make another editing pass at Consigned to Darkness. I really want this off my plate. Once I finish Ioranna's Ransom, it will be like the end of an era. I wrote the first draft of the first book of the trilogy back in high school and getting it out there will be a major achievement for me.

I'm still waiting to hear back from the four first readers I'm trying out. I sent each a copy of A Leaf in the Wind, just to get an idea of how well they read my work. Since most of these readers came to my stories through erotica, it will be interesting to see how they deal with a fantasy novel.