WARNING: May contain naughty language.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Goals for 2017

In the past I've always created a bullet list of a dozen or more goals (aka resolutions) for the New Year.

And I've always conveniently forgotten about them until the following year.

I'm going for something a bit different in 2017 for "reasons".

Rather than discrete tasks, I'm going macro and will focus on a theme instead.





Best wishes to you and yours in 2017.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Decisions, Decisions



Every day in my "work life" I'm responsible for a dozen decisions. 

  • Where do we need to hire technical talent?
  • What kind of training does X need to become even better?
  • Is there true technical alignment in our latest engagement?
  • Where should I eat lunch?
Making such decisions has become far easier over time. As a fan of Gladwell's "Blink" I often go with my gut and am seldom disappointed. Usually works out fine. Or at the very worst I can go back and refine my decision after the fact.

Yet I have a terrible time making decisions about my writing and where to spend the scant time I have during the day.

  • Which "A" lister publication should I try to get a rejection email from next?
  • Should I work on my novel or take a break to write a short piece for an interesting anthology?
  • Oxford comma or not?
  • What workshops to attend this year?
  • Of the seven books on my bookshelf, which one is NEXT?
I twist and turn, weighing each decision almost to the point of analysis paralysis. I sweat, ring my hands and take long walks to get a better perspective. When I finally do decide, I'm immediately gripped by anxiety that I've made a terrible mistake.

Yet, to this point, I've been cool with each choice. So, maybe I should stop worrying and just write. Yeah! That sounds like a perfect idea...but what if I'm working on the wrong thing? 

Oh, well. 

Analyze --> Decide --> ACT --> Enjoy



Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Paradise Lost...AND Found in San Antonio (April 27 - 30, 2017)

    For my writer friends. "Give me six hours to cut down a tree and I'll spend the first hour sharpening the saw." - Abe Lincloln
    Need an infusion of creative energy? Need to reconnect with the penmonkey tribe? Need some professional guidance on your writing? Can't afford to go to Helsinki for Worldcon? Check out Paradise Lost in San Antonio, Texas and SHARPEN YOUR SAW.

    I've attended this workshop for the past three years and have had an AMAZING experience each time. Professional writers (Melinda Snodgrass, Chuck Wendig, WJW and many others) plus industry insiders and editors - ALL of whom are glad to hang out, toss back libations, talk shop and play Cards Against Humanity.

   Reconnect with your tribe. Learn new tricks. Make new friends - write them into your books and KILL THEM ALL! 


   Applications are open, so why wait?

   Hosted by the indomitable Sean Patrick Kelly, this is the SINGLE writing event / workshop I plan around, year after year.





Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Bourbon Trail

My father turned 80 years old back in June. Had a great big birthday bash with friends and family from all over the country. My brother, sister and I had the ultimate gift planned for him - an "all expense paid" (ie., we'd pick up the bill) trip to Lexington and Louisville, Kentucky to visit the finer distilleries in the state.

My Dad loves his bourbon - which likely explains my predilection for the stuff as well.

Coordinating schedules took a while, but we finally nailed the date, made reservations and made our collective ways to Bourbon Country.

Day One:
Keeneland Farms and Racetrack - Amazing early morning walk around the grounds. Beautiful rolling hills and thoroughbreds.

Woodford Reserve Distillery - Great facility and staff. FINE sampling to be had in the tasting. And most amazing of all, I've been drinking bourbon WRONG for all these years!



Four Roses Distillery - Least impressive facility. DON'T DRINK THE YELLOW LABEL. Ever.

Amazing dinner at The Merrick Inn. So tasty!


Day Two:
KAD (Kentucky Artisanal Distilleries) - Makers of top-shelf Jefferson Reserve and a few others. Had a fantastic tour of the facility. Great tour guide gave us the lowdown on all the "goings-on" on location. Was impressive. Had a nice tasting afterwards and walked out with a limited edition bottle of Jefferson Reserve aged in RUM barrels! Can't wait to sample that awesomeness.



Bardstown - Amazing little town which bills itself as the home of bourbon. Spent some time walking about, enjoying the small town charm and favorable weather. Enjoyed a great lunch at the very, very historic Talbott Tavern where Jesse James and his gang had a shootout in 1868. Oh, yeah. Its haunted, too.

Finished the day at Jim Beam, the very largest of all the distilleries visited. Much more commercialized than the others but still enjoyable.



Dinner at the Butchertown Grocery for some remarkable high-end cuisine to finish up the trip.

All in all, a great trip worth repeating.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DAD!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Luke Cage and Some Random Beers I've Tried this Week


Like millions of other viewers, I binged on Luke Cage over the weekend. As a fan of Netflix's prior projects like "Daredevil" and "Jessica Jones" I was looking forward to this series.

And it did not disappoint. 

Filled with action, tension and some amazing music I thought the series did a great job of depicting Power Man, Luke Cage.

Was it perfect? Nope. 

The plot was about as straight forward as one could envision. Very, very little in the way of genuine surprises or twists. Another aspect which kind of irked me was the lack of creativity during the fight scenes. Most of Cage's moves involved hurling bad guys about the room ala "The Incredible Hulk" TV show or even "The Six Million Dollar Man". Even the final showdown was little more than a super-powered slugfest. I was hoping to get a taste of the famous Daredevil "Hallway Fight Scene" which is up there with the very best combat choreography ever filmed.

Those minor flaws aside, it was a powerful and well-acted series. And the scenes of everyday life in Harlem were exceptional to view. 

I also drank some beer while watching it, which should come as no surprise to anybody who knows me.

Atwater Dirty Blonde: Watery, golden, fizzy with hint of citrus. Pretty weak. (2/5)

Diabolical IPA (North Peak Brewery): Pine and citrus, bitter aftertaste, bottle looks like a recycled Red Stripe. Average IPA (2.5/5)

Atwater Decadent Chocolate Ale:  What can I say? Dark Chocolate + ale. Nasty stuff which I'll never try again. Killed my sense of taste for the rest of the night. (0.5/5)









Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Satiated Bookworm


For the past decade, I've meticulously maintained a list of books. Books I've read, books I've heard about and books I want to read. I figure I add half a dozen or so every month. Last night, as I finished the final page of "Dinosaur Knights" by Victor Milan, I checked my queue for the next target.

It was empty.

All the bestsellers I wanted to read, works by friends and interesting titles, not to mention the novels from my wife's book club.

Done. Nothing. Nada.

Guess I have NO excuses for not writing now...bummer.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Pause for Process - My Approach

I've written about 3 novels over the past seven years. One of them is buried in my backyard, another is imprisoned in a 3.5 inch floppy disk and the last is in a perpetual state of starvation, locked in the trunk like a desiccated vampire, fed once every 6 months with red ink.

I do a lot of software stuff for a living. And a lot of project management work to go along wth the coding. Countless articles, magazines and books talk about methods of writing. But I think I've finally created a process which I'll try for a while.

Now, if I can only MAKE the time needed to write the ten or so novels I've outlined, I'll be off to the races! Right...wish me luck.



Double-click to enlarge - formatting is TERRIBLE!