Painting With Shotguns XLIII

This Novel Idea

I Think Machine: Like Clockwork, Part III Good goddamn, my novel progress as of last week and this week was basically shot in the ass and left to bleed out. Last week was a flurry of activity on the home-selling and home-purchasing fronts as we had to coordinate an inspection for this house (which means I had to wrangle dogs off-site for about three hours) and then attend the inspection for our future house.

“Future House.” Sounds like we’re living in a spaceship.

And maybe we are.

Anyway. Where was I? Right, right. The progress ekes along. This week, the progress has pulled a hammy because I’ve got some more paying work — this is, of course, A Good Thing, but it also means that I must attend to that which feeds my meth and peach schnapps habit pays my bills.

Still, I must briefly note what I assume is a common dilemma for the burgeoning novelist, and that concern is, “This novel is not making me any money.” Certainly not everyone is in the book-writing gig for cash, but even still, writing a book is a massive time commitment. And it’s not unusual to wonder, “Why the fuck am I doing this?” Hours to days to weeks to months, and it’s not putting peach schnapps food in your mouth.

To this I say, fie! Fie.

You must look at the novel as if it’s a kind of investment. You’re putting money in the form of time away so that it one day may return to you. The money, not the time. You cannot get time back, not unless you have a Magic Delorean. Putting good solid time into a novel is not a waste, not if you commit to it. Of course, given the time it takes and the potentially meager (or non-existent) return, it’s best not to actually put these numbers into a spreadsheet lest you feel a sudden sinking feeling of abject disappointment…

Ahem, no, seriously, it’s all good.

It’ll all work out.

So, to me, and to you, I say: make the time.

Or, find the time.

Or, pull time’s shirt over its head and bend it over a desk. Have your way with it.

Whatever gets you to the finish line.

I’ll be promptly kicking my own ass. Now, back to the novel.

So, About That House

The Hatch, Part Three Our closing date got bumped up by a couple days. Plus side: no longer on Friday the 13th. Minus side: we now have two fewer days to get our shit together. Plus side: yay! New house!

Both inspections last week went very well. Our house passed, was not secretly suffused in The Silent But Deadly Gas known as radon. The new house, which was once upon a time custom built, came packaged with the fear that “custom home” was actually a euphemism for “code violations,” but thankfully that appears to not be the case. It was a good sign when the inspector raised his eyebrows and said, “This is a well-built house.”

Of course, little did we know, he was probably drunk that day. We also missed the part where he said, “This is a well-built house,” and then pointed to his junk and threw up on his clipboard.

The fun part about moving into a new house is all the delicious new expenses! Suddenly it’s like, “Someone going to clean those gutters? Anybody going to reseal your driveway? Don’t forget about those missing appliances! Oh, and hey, in the seller’s disclosure is a reminder that you’re going to have to hire somebody to feed uranium into the basement furnace — I recommend Lava Goblins, as their pyroclastic flesh protects them from the radiation.”

So, I toss it to you: anybody got advice? On, well, anything having to do with moving into a new home? Recommendations on appliances? Tips? Tricks? Secret Contra codes that, when I plug into my house, it upgrades the dishwasher and turns it into a Tri-Shot Photon Cannon?

Oh, I don’t know if we’re going to do it right away (see earlier note: $$$$), but our TV is too damn small for the living room, now: also taking recommendations on televisions. So, there’s that.

In Which I Pimp My Shiznit

In case you missed it, I had an article up on The Escapist last week: “In Twitter We Trust.” I yammer about hive-minds, word-of-mouth, circles of trust, and Google robots. So, come on by? (Also: looks like I might have another Escapist article lined up. So, keep your grapes peeled in August, kittens.)

(Oh, and dang, Twitter’s been a righteous asshole this week. With all its API cockiness.)

Also: The Bones: Us And Our Dice is ready to roll. (See what I did there? Ready to roll? Like dice? Like bones? Shut up. No, you shut up! Shut your damn fool mouth or I’ll poop on your children. What?) Lots of great contributors to this thing, with many you’ll recognize: Keith Baker, Jason L Blair, Greg Costikyan, Ray Fawkes, Matt Forbeck, Pat Harrigan, Jess Hartley, Fred Hicks, Will Hindmarch, Kenneth Hite, John Kovalic, James Lowder, Russ Pitts, Jesse Scoble, Mike Selinker, Jared Sorensen, Paul Tevis, Jeff Tidball, Monica Valentinelli, Chuck Wendig, Wil Wheaton (interviews with Irving Finkel, Scott Nesin, Cardell Kerr).

Yes, that’s me next to Wil Wheaton. No, not literally. But if I ever get the chance, I will hug him and squeeze him and call him George.

And I will bathe in his nerd aura.


Yesterday also marked the Second Chapter of the (in)famous Codpiece Johnson “short story” (aka Codpiece Johnson and the Hamsters of Anamnesis). You can find part one here, and part two here. Fun trivia fact: whenever I post free fiction like that, my views/hits drop precipitously off a cliff! They just — *whistles* — boy, they just plummet.

My assumption: you sumbastards just don’t want a hot free face full of fiction from me. Hell, I don’t blame you. But I’ll finish this story, no worries. I pay my debts.

Even if it leads me to yet another tear-stained pillow night.

What else is news?

Well, Collapsus is still… international only, I guess? I heard from the creators that it might go live for Wemericans sometime last week, but that, I’m guessing, hasn’t yet happened. Soon as it goes live, I’ll be sure to throw up a link. *barf*

The film goes — actually, hot damn, it goes really well. Writing partner and director Lance has been taking many-a-trip to NYC and LA, lately, and we’re in a process now that includes words that rhyme loosely with “fasting” and “line dancing” and Phil Collins’ “Su-su-sudio.” So, provided nothing cataclysmic occurs, everything there is taking shape nicely. Might we have a movie filmed by the end of the year? Keep your fingers and toes crossed. And your balls, if you can manage it. I’m just saying.

The TV show goes…? It goes. It keeps on keeping on. News when I have it.

The novel goes…? Into a dark hole somewhere, where it weeps and gibbers? No, I dunno. We’re still waiting to hear from some editors, I guess, and… and what? And I’m losing faith in it. I mean, I like the book and the character’s one of my favorites, but if something just isn’t in the stars with the publishers, then that’s the way the dookie tumbles. Somewhere deep in my gut is a gnawing sense of despair and rage and alcoholism, but I tamp that down and do like any good soldier does: repress, repress, repress! In the meantime, I put the helmet on and the blindfold beneath and then I charge ahead into the next book.

I’ve also got some other work upcoming — a couple-few short stories for various anthologies, some more RPG game work, and so on and so forth.

World of Darkness: Mirrors is out. Or out-ish. Some people have it, anyway.

Reminder, too, that I’ll be attending three upcoming conventions: Bouchercon in SF, NoirCon in Philly, and in 2011 I’ll be headed out to Austin for the World Horror Con. Anybody attending… any of these?

If you are, lemme know. We will gather. We will consume fermented grain.

Linkity-Link Link Clickity Link

You want links? I got links.

Speaking of conventions, the World Horror Con has a horror short story contest. So, y’know, wade on in, kids. Sounds like fun.

Did you know that Esquire has a not unreasonable cocktail database? They do. Go there.

Rick Carroll wrote something called… “Dinobot Mountain.” Uhh. You are warned.

John Rector is over at Do Some Damage to talk about his novel that almost wasn’t: Cold Kiss. I gotta tell you, I’m geeked about this book. Need to nab myself a copy. I hear great things.

Mister Daniel O’Shea is running hisself a flash fiction challenge — we’ll just call it “The Douche-Spray Challenge.” Which is like Ocean Spray, except he’ll make juice from douchebags, not cranberries.

Not sure I linked to this Stephen Blackmoore interview? If I didn’t, I am now. Clicky-clicky, motherbitches. Hear his wisdom.

Finally, a great and unexpected document (PDF) of practical writing advice from agent and author Allan Guthrie: “Hunting Down The Pleonasm.” You must, must, must read. Do it. Or I’ll kick you.

I leave you with this video.

Adorable: the sound the fennec fox makes as its owner feeds it a Cheeto.

Disturbing: the fact its owner feeds it fucking Cheetos.


  • Thanks for the linkage, sir!

    If you need a PA for your film, let me know. When it comes time for (rhymes with)Cod-uction and Vice-Principal Bilming (Bilming? Shut up.) I can fetch coffee with the best of them. I also excel at sitting on my ass, making snide comments, and letting the director know how he should have done it. Michael Bay should hire me. Srsly. Very excited for you in this film deal-yo, dude-yo. Can’t wait to witness the majesty.

    And I am going to add my voice in the well of eternal support – you’re going to sell this book, motherfucker. So lift your chin, sniff the farts, strap two-blocks of C4 to your chest and yell BOOYAH MOTHERFUCKER! the bearded Summerian war-bitch you are. It is going to sell, it is going to do really fucking well, and you are gonna get yours.

    Truth, yo.

    Thanks for the shout out. To be perfectly honest, I am not at all happy with Dinobot Mountain. It feels to forced and disjointed, and I am wishing I had taken more time with it. I rushed it out (like I always fucking do) and it just isn’t standing up to what I wanted it to be. It feels stock, trite, and just… bleh. I’m not at all happy with it. The next installment (should the Flash battle continue) is going to be much more delayed and I am going to try my damndest to be more critical with it. I hate feeling so completely disappointed in a result.

    But hey, at least I finished it.

    What’s weird is that my blog traffic shoots up exponentially every time I release a bit of fiction (Dinobot Mountain being no exception). I don’t know if that’s an indication that I can actually write worth a damn, or if people will just take free shit no matter what it is. Maybe that’s my own fear speaking (hah! I can you an asshole for having concerns and then whine about my own in the next breath. Rhymes-with-shmidtpocryte) but I dunno, I get a shit ton of traffic when I write the ficy-ficy.

    You know what it is? I just feel dirty writing fan-fic. I don’t have anything against fan-fic, but I just am not a fan of it in general. Writing it just makes me feel like a total sell-out.

    So, I’m going to get off your little therapy couch here now, Herr Doktor Wangledangle. To sum up: you kick ass, fucker. Your house – good deal. Can’t wait to get a blowjob watching your flick, and BOOYAH MOTHERFUCKER!

  • How did I not know the word pleonasm? Holy Cow. My snarky comments to “say it one time” now get an even snarkier vocabulary word.

    Is there a high-falutin’ word for “show not tell” too?

  • Totally. I look at the time I spend writing as an investment in my writing skill and knowledge, ignoring time vs money completely because otherwise I’d want to drown myself in Crystal Light.

    My logical (delusional?) mind tells me that the more I skill up the closer the time-money scales will get to balancing or, in my dreams, tip towards the money side.

    So, investment, yeah. Hmmm. Think I can sell the hubster on this investment and quit the day job? 😀

    1. Cute! 2. Foxes are pets? 3. Wtf? Cheetos?

  • TV: always get Plasma. Always. If you’re getting anything bigger than 42 inches, LCD is useless. Plus, Plasma is cheaper (which is totally weird) and crisper. Darks are darker, etc. I’ve had DLP (still do, it’s nice but it’s no Plasma) and LCD and there’s just no comparison. Panasonic, obv.

    You can’t work into the contract to have the soon-to-be-former house owners seal the driveway for you? Can y’all not do that sort of thing up there? We made our previous house’s owners do all sorts of things to the house before we moved in. Dirty, unmentionable things. I mean, I just needed to know that was happening here before I moved in. I have… needs.

  • Re: the new house. I know you know about Angie’s List, so my advice is: Don’t forget about Angie’s List.

    When the wife and I moved into our new house (holy crap, about 10 years ago), we made a list of all the things we wanted to fix, remodel, or improve. Then, we each secretly ranked our list. Then we added the rankings together and worked the list in combined ranking order (allowing for monetary restrictions and similar concerns). It worked well for us.

    Last suggestion: Go buy yourselves a nice piece of art you both love and stick it somewhere prominent. it’s like marking your territory but, you know, without the uriney smell.

    • a) What if I like the uriney smell? Don’t tell the wife. She thinks it’s from the dogs.

      b) … Angie’s List? I do not know about this mythical list.

      — c.

  • Angie’s List is a website where you can research businesses and services, and leave your own reviews for them. Unfortunately, you have to pay to use the site. Which, in my opinion, defeats the purpose.

    I’ve got no advice since I’m still apartment living. Except that, if you get a plasma tv, be mindful of burning the image. My uncle had one, left it on a channel too long, and the shadow of the channel’s logo was permanently outlined in the corner.

    Also, that is the cutest thing I’ve heard. So squeaky.

    • Hmm. So, Angie’s List charges. Okay then.

      Any free equivalents?

      Also: I’d heard plasma was sub-par to LCD. I’m cornfuzzled, now. My mother has plasma and it kind of looks like dog shit.

      I hear good things about LED. Are those things wrong?

      — c.

      • @Stoney:

        The driveway doesn’t really *need* resealing at the moment, but it will eventually, before winter. The other thing is, we, ahh, have already dropped the price well below the point of reason.

        — c.

  • As a purveyor of electronics and video games, I can tell you that plasma is definitely not as good for video games/consoles as LED or LCD. The frame rate tends to wear them out more quickly. FWIW

  • I have 2 42″ lcd’s and have played my ps3 and xbox360 on them every day with no noticeable side-effects. I like my samsung better than my sony. Any thoughts on the whole 3-d tv shiznit? It feels gimmicky to me but a bunch of content is becoming available for it.

    • @Cappy —

      3D is a clever notion, but expensive for the limited content it brings. And it dulls colors and forces you to sit dead on to the TV in most cases. So, ehh, not yet.

      LCD is maybe the way I need to go — or, again, LED? Not sure.

      — c.

  • I have shared an elevator with Wil Wheaton! It was epic. Failed my save, gawked awfully, scared the hell out of him with “oh god she’s gonna blow!” and he got off on the next floor.

    My friends tell me he muttered something about needing to be somewhere, but by then the blood was roaring in my ears and I didn’t hear. (They didn’t even know who he was! Didn’t…know…)

    One day when I’m Known, I will tell him that story. Until then I will drink to forget, and remind myself that at least I didn’t scream.

  • Before moving your stuff, make sure to buy paper towels, paper plates, plastic cups, and plastic utensils. This way when you are halfway through moving, you don’t have to dig through boxes to get to your kitchen stuff just to eat or drink. We did this when we moved and it was a lifesaver.

    Also, we got our appliances off of Craigslist. We bought a stove and fridge that were just a year old for $100 a piece. If we would have bought them new, they would have cost about $1200 combined. Pretty good deal, if you ask me. Just make sure they work, first.

    Oh, and you can blame Rick for my lurking. He introduced me to you without your knowing. Kim, Chuck. Chuck, Kim. Nice to meet you. Rick and Maggie are good buddies of mine. Since I’m a self proclaimed “writer” he thought I would benefit from your kick-in-the-ass type of motivation to write. I’m still working on my own ass kicking. Anyways, I’m sure you’ll be seeing more of me hanging around.

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