Saturday, December 29, 2012

Snowbound Dreams

I'm watching the snow--intermittently, because there's no window in my office--while thinking of the next step in my current work. With winter upon us, outdoor projects have ceased. Actually, they'd stalled before this as my bad knee got worse. That begins to change  next month when the knee gets replaced.

I've actually applied myself to writing a novel: Big 50 is to be a thriller--I hope--and swings around a retired Marine who supplements his retirement by writing about the outdoors, guns and whatever interests him at the moment. There are bank robberies and weaponry and antique and new cars and other things that blend my interests and knowledge into a whole that I hope will interest many thousands of readers.

I've written nearly 50 non-fiction trade books, so assembling words is not something that is a problem, but assembling them into interesting fiction is a different kind of work than is writing non-fiction. At this stage it is a lot more difficult.

The writing goes in fits and starts, but I hope to have it done late in February or early in March depending partly on how long and difficult the knee rehab is. I've done that before, and while it isn't a whole lot of fun, after a month or so, getting around is fairly easy with a cane. With this right knee replacement, though, I won't be driving until the end of March. Living where I do, that's going to be a challenge. I'll probably re-read everything on our bookshelves!

The big problem with books published on the Internet, whether just popped up as a PDF on a web site, done as a Kindle or Nook book, or anything else that crops up before I finish Big 50, is marketing. Regardless of the joy found in researching the characters--yeah, really, you do need to know your characters--and following them on the pages, the intent of any genre novel is to make money by pleasing the largest number of people possible. So far, I've been ineffective on the Internet at this in non-fiction, with most of the suggestions available being either unaffordable or plain stupid. I'm aware that latter judgment is too harsh so I'm looking for new ways that aren't stupid--in my mind.

In the meantime, I'll check in here and drop a word or six on the writing process, stumbles in research and similar enjoyable pastimes.  At the moment, I'm approaching 40,000 words in the first draft. I'm not sure what total we'll see, but double that seems a likely number, especially the way my characters are pushing me now. Once everything is written, I'll rewrite, then edit, then proofread. I'll probably do another rewrite after that, so the final book may be 60,000 words--or 100,000.

Monday, December 10, 2012

A Lot of Want Tos

This isn't a Christmas list: I've been hampered more than a little in the past eight or nine weeks with my old bugaboo, a miserable knee. The knee in question, my right one, has already had two surgeries, so next month it goes in for replacement. Unfortunately, I've got to go with it.

In the meantime, my physical activity is pretty much limited to a stationary bike and a couple of light dumbbells.

The left knee replacement went well last year, though any kind of surgery when they have to knock you all the way out is less fun than most other things. Too, there is no time wasted between coming out of the ether (or whatever anesthesia they use) to starting rehab. Leg motion starts on day 1, and you're out of bed the next day, if memory serves...memory doesn't always serve well, because they started pain medication (Fentanyl...never again!) that interacted with anesthesia too early and I hallucinated for what Frances says was four days. I guess I was in and out because I can recall learning to use a walker--there really is a right way!

Rehab is no fun, but is a little better than the horror story many guys pass along. Yes, it hurts a bit. Yes, it aches a lot. But in the end, if the surgeon has done his job, which Dr. Larry Lipscomb had, you end up with more range of motion in your knee than you've had in a good number of years. The rehab person is also important. You have to get along, appreciate the effort she--in my case--was putting into getting you active.

In the meantime, check out for my most recent Kindle book:

 And for you bird lovers, here's an easy to make birdhouse:

Come next year, I expect to produce a birdhouse based on scrap materials and stuff that is normally tossed in the dumpster. At this point, I foresee it being another Kindle book, as print publishers are still running scared. I've got most of the methods worked out, all the tools I can think of needed ready to use, and plenty of scrap. I just can't stand for long enough to do the real work. That will come.

Shortly after that, I'll be finishing photography for a beginner's guide to car photography. Short and to the point, with lots of photos. In the meantime, I've got a photo book that is useful for those who want to shoot and organize their photographs in story form. It's what I do, and it's easy, but...

And a hearty Ho, Ho, Ho, just in case I don't get a chance to get back on here before then. Merry Christmas to all.

Next up, Peace on Earth, though I'm afraid we'll need to stick with Semper Fidelis for the foreseeable future.