Thursday, December 31, 2009

Last Walk

Walked a mile over at Griffith Park, the first time in 6 weeks. Knee felt Okay afterwards. Time to focus on giving running one more chance, beginning with walking. Enough for 2009. Big things ahead next year for such is my intention. Happy New Year everyone!

Haunted TV

While watching Ghost Hunters, I saw them investigate two places I'd been. One was the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Then, on the following episode, the team checked out the Jim Hensen Studios in Hollywood. I'd heard rumors of the Crescent, but didn't experience anything. And the only thing I've ever seen at Hensen are Muppets and executives. (The team pronounced both locations rife with paranormal activity - or as paranormal as any TV show can be.)

Last year I had to take a First Aid class while coaching Team in Training. The Red Cross facility was in an old mansion in Pasadena. The class ran into the night. After finishing up, I talked with the instructor who advised me to leave quickly as the place was haunted. Nothing bad had happened, but things were seen and heard which the instructor found unexplainable and disturbing. And apparently beyond the powers of earthly First Aid.

I'm amazed by how many people I've met over the years who have ghost stories. Buncha nuts. (Photo: youthradio.wordpress.com)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Louie in the News

Voice Actors in the News presents a holiday with Louie Anderson.

Link to Top Ten TV Blunders

The Hollywood Reporter ranks the decades' Top Ten TV Blunders. Some you'll know, others are news to me. I would include the last season of the X-Files and the last two seasons of The Sopranos. While not huge blunders, they are good examples of giving CPR to a mummy.
h/t: Big Hollywood

State of Washington Photos

Gig Harbor, Washington.


Monday, December 28, 2009

Drip Posting

Pardon my drips as I pre-posted a week's worth of stuff while I enjoyed a computer-free Christmas with my relatives in the Pacific Northwest. It was a grand, frosty time, cold yet warm in a family, holiday way. As we waited for our ride home at the airport, I was interviewed by a local paper on the new security procedures resulting from the latest terrorist attack on a Detroit-bound flight. If I find it later, I'll put it up.

But nice to be home.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Waiting on the Beta Readers

Six readers will wade into my long short story. I shall wait until after Christmas to spruce it up, before sending it out. I can't wait to work on my next story: "Ella The Passive-Aggressive Ghost."

Most depressed lately, re. running, or lack there of. One more shot, then I'll call it a life and do other things. Hopefully healthy things.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

More From Tech For Less

To make an annoying story short, a kindly soul at Tech For Less took pity on me and mailed a Christmas gift despite high incompetence on the part of my credit card company.

Thank you, decent and noble Tech For Less. Merry Christmas and may fat sales lie in your techy future.

You and Me and a Christmas Tree

They vote and breed.

EMBED-Dad Ruins Christmas Tree Setup - Watch more free videos
h/t: Viral Footage

Monday, December 21, 2009

Winding Down and Wasted from Writing

Weary on this shortest day of the year from slogging away on my novelette - the technical term for the story I'm writing as it's no longer short, but not wordy enough to be a novella. There's a temptation to punch ahead and make it so, but I need feedback on what I have. Perspective has "slipped the surly bonds of earth," as the poet said, and I crave input. Alas, I have no more signed Freakazoid posters to offer as inducement. Perhaps plastic grapes? Or a gnome child, left in my barbecue. (Actually, I already turned it over to the county. But my wife has photographs if we can figure out what's wrong with her Canon Sure-Shot.) Anyway, something.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Sizzled on Rewrites

Burned out yesterday rewriting the first seven pages of the jumbo short story. Today, I'll concentrate only on the last 20 pages. Everything needs to be paid off and its the weakest portion; the part I keep saying will "write itself," in the vain hope that it actually will. So now I will because the story will not do me a solid. My own story!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Stuck in the Short Story Consideration Line

Queue you. So I've been told electronically. One magazine I submitted to has an on-line submission and tracking page. You're given a number when you send in your story. Then you can follow its progress through the editorial process, much like watching your car move through brushes, soap, and hot wax at the car wash. My story currently has 94 other stories in front of it, waiting to be read. In other words, it has not even been vacuumed. A lengthy wait will certainly affect my tip.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Going Back to Jackson

Yesterday would've been the 90th birthday of author Shirley Jackson. Author of "The Lottery" and "The Haunting of Hill House," she died of an apparent heart attack back in 1965 at the age of 45. Jackson wrote good gothic, but could also crank out light-hearted, slice-of-slice books about the chaos of raising four kids. She loved writing because it was one of the few times during the day she got to sit down.

Unlike my laborious method of writing draft after draft until the right words finally appear, Jackson would mull a story over for a long time, then sit down and bang it out almost print ready. (Very similar to the Paul Rugg style .-:)) My favorite Jackon short story involved an older New York couple who decided to spend the winter upstate at their summer home and learned the locals could be deadly if you overstayed your welcome.

And that was this moment in Shirley Jackson history.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Zip Code Change

Folks up in the August burn areas are bracing for possible location-changing mud slides. Two more inches of rain are in-bound and they say an inch-an-hour is enough to provide the necessary liquefaction. Let's hope for a big long drizzle.

Today I begin the end run for the big long horror story. Everything makes sense, but I have to drop in a number of elements that will provide stronger ties to various character changes as well as foreshadow the climax.

Mostly, I want to be finished and send it out and have someone buy it for my Christmas present.

One of them, anyway.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Six and Soaked

Ernesto ran six miles today in a steady downpour. Unemployment has really jump-started his training as he's hoofing it 5x a week in preparation for the upcoming LA Marathon. Nothing like a heavy rain to separate the hard-core from the somewhat-committed.

Short Story Update

"Perry the Owl Boy" went off for consideration yesterday. Ten-in-Six now stands at:
One acceptance ("Bane Fish" in Night Chills Magazine.)

Five pending with "Dagon and Jill" the closest to placing (on a shortlist.)

That's four more to write (and ideally sell) before the end of February 2010.

"Apple Dan" is a few drafts from completion, but could be done next Friday.

At least two stories would have to be seriously rewritten, while "Ella the Passive-Aggressive Ghost" may be closer than I think.

My wife suggested I try writing a few Christmas cards.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Lining up Short Story Markets

A snap thanks to Duotrope. In the short fiction realm, 5 cents a word and up is considered the professional rate. A penny to 4 cents is semi-pro. Fractions of a cent - such as I was recently paid - constitute token payment. Publication copies are the minimum exchange for a story. I tend to send out to token payments and up, but don't sneer at anything that gets one aboard the resume-building train.

My last non-writing, acting, producing job took place on October 31, 1991. I worked at a temp agency on assignment to an engineering company in Pasadena. There I inputted reports into their database. Sit down, type, go out for a smoke at 10, lunch from 12:30 to 1:30, then type until 5:30.

They didn't want much: my time and effort for x hours at x dollars. I've been paid the long green and treated worse than the engineering company treated me.

Went to see good friend Ken last night for an evening of coffee shop chow and good bad movies. Same address for 29 years. That's astounding in Los Angeles. It's like living in the Sphinx.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Perry the Owl Boy

Currently perched, waiting for today's final polish. Then a read over Friday, and away it flies to a publication claiming to welcome such whimsical tales. After which, I return to the jumbo 11k horror short story. Looking forward to finishing that one and getting it out before the end of next week.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Steaks Breaks

At least for the rest of this year, due to injuries. Read his race report on the Las Vegas Marathon, where TNT chums Rouman, Elizabeth and Inez also braved the chilly desert air for a bit of 26.2 merriment.

Zombie Update

Wondering where to buy the best vehicle for surviving a zombie apocalypse? These folks have given it some thought, as well as other topics of interest to the undead community.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Another Day, Another No

This time from a wry, snarky humor mag. My story enchanted one editor, but not the three necessary for a spot in the magazine. Still, I was invited to try again. I find myself, more often than not, in what I call the "honored rejection bin." That's where editors acknowledge not accepting my work and invite me to have another go.

Cold and rainy today. But not for a man who works at home.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Not Everyone Mourned

My English nurse mom was grateful for Pearl Harbor. She'd been dodging Nazi bombs in London for two years and knew that with America now in the war, there was no way the British could lose. However, Roosevelt only declared war on Japan. Hitler saved the day by honoring the Axis Treaty and declaring war on the U.S. Italy followed right behind. WW II was on.

h/t: Associated Press

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Marathons

Ernesto, Nick and a few other TNT chums are training for our hometown marathon. From what I hear, the course will be point to point, starting at Dodger Stadium, traveling through Hollywood and ending in Santa Monica. I'll be training to watch it on TV, but I wish them all well.

Big writing day yesterday, cranking out another draft on my long short story. (Only 55 pages now.) I'll put this one aside now and work on something shorter. Perhaps a postcard.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Write and Walk

Chi walk, that is. It's a method of locomotion that involves your feet landing under your body and not in front of it, thereby eliminating knee and joint stress. Alas, there are many moving parts to the method. But I"m not in a hurry.

Big old short story - 60 pages - is nearing the end of another draft. My word count approaches 13K, kicking me into novelette range. Its a tale I developed in workshop a few years back, sent out once or twice, came close to placing, then lost interest and put it away. This time its placing. (Remember: fiction pays by the word.)

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Research and Rates

My pharmacist father-in-law helped me research a story, providing insight into what sort of items one might find in a small lab. (Apparently, many of the same items you'd find in a regular kitchen.)

Tempers flared at Black Matrix blogsite after some guy dissed the publication for not paying pro-rates. (5 cents a word, I think.) It's similar to ripping independent filmmakers for paying talent a copy of the film. Having produced and directed one independent film (and a short one at that), I know pretty much everything comes out of your pocket. You get to be in charge in return for all the headaches and expenses. (I'm not saying it wasn't worth it, but regular readers may note I'm not blogging about directing a bunch more of my own films.)

And having acted in a few independent films, I acknowledged the trade-off between my time and effort and my meager compensation. Back then, it was one of the fastest ways to build an acting reel. Student films, too.

Duotrope lists hundreds of short fiction markets: paying, non-paying, token payment. Most paying markets list their rates. I'm free to submit to whom I will and do. If I don't like the deal, there's other places to shop.

And if some markets don't pay well, there are certain benefits such as a take-it-or-leave-it approach. This can sometimes trump excellent pay and a page one rewrite.

Noble CIM

When injured last fall, I had to withdraw from the California International Marathon. The kindly folks there said they'd put me in this year. Alas, I'm in no shape to run, or walk, but CIM carried me over anyway.

Perhaps 2011?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Friday, November 27, 2009

A New Runner and New Thin Man


Yesterday, fellow writer (and now runner) Bernadette completed her first 5K without stopping. That's 3.1 miles on a course I ran four years ago and know contains literal ups and downs. Bravo, Bernadette. (I run vicariously these days, eliminating the need for expensive shoes.)

At the in-laws yesterday for dinner. One 23-year-old family member dropped 100 pounds in a year. The last time I saw him, he was wider than Lake Huron. He accomplished this feat with nothing more than a gym membership and a diet of mostly salads. A shout-out to young Ezra for losing the equivalent of a small child.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Shortlist

A short story, "Dagon and Jill," has advanced another rung up the publication ladder. This particular magazine employs a blind submission process, whereby you email two attachments: one with name and contact info and the other with the story. Relying only on the story, readers select which tales proceed. There are two such rounds before a story reaches the editors - the above-mentioned shortlist. (That's where I be, har.) As each issue has a different editor, the story circulates among them and, if no one picks, its a pass. (I have a one-in-three chance, so I'm told.) In the meantime, they've pleasantly asked me to send in something else. Oh, very well; if they insist.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

"Bane Fish" Placed

Black Matrix Publishing has purchased my short story "Bane Fish" for inclusion in one of their four upcoming magazines, Night Chills. As this is my first prose fiction sale, I was so excited I almost stopped having the flu. I'm not sure when it's due out, but I'll update with a link for those inclined to purchase a copy. Or follow their publishing progress on Facebook. It's been a long, barren year and this really raises my spirits - which is appropriate when writing for a horror magazine.

Duotrope Shout Out

If you've ever hankered to publish fiction or poetry, this site will have you knocking on doors in no time. Duotrope provides a huge market database, plus weekly updates on what's open, closed or extinct in the publishing world. Since I began Ten-in-Six back in late August, I've used Duotrope's online submissions tracker to follow all my stories. They keep track of submissions, rejections, and acceptances. Visit on Facebook. Alas, they are not eligible for Stimulus Funds and must rely on donations to keep the data base fires burning. Help out, if you can. They do everything but write the darn thing for you.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

La Jolla: Land of Sea and Lego




Hardly any sleep the last two nights because of sinus blockage. But I'm tired enough now to sleep through not breathing. Here are more Lego creations: the Hollywood Bowl and a unionized state employee goofing off.

Friday, November 20, 2009

La Jolla




Down there last week. Beautiful shoreline chock full of sea lions and one of those places were you can buy polo attire. (I resisted.) There's also Legoland, Sea World, the San Diego Zoo, and Tiajuna all within EZ driving distance. But enough of this brochure writing.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Got Me a Bug

Flu, I believe, but not H1N1. Just a garden variety strain. I hardly ever got sick during my running years, but alas this is no longer back-in-the-day. And today I no longer tear calf muscles, break metatarsals, or erode knee cartilage. A push, as the Vegas folks say. Sorta.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Did the Brain Secretly Jog?


Pinky clearly didn't. An NYT article tells the tale of mice, humans and the brilliant effects of running on brain power.
h/t: Cynthia Yockey