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Writing Report January 12, 2017


Well, I did not finish my second female barbarian novella in time to send it off the the 3rd publisher.

Two things prevented my finishing on time:
First, I was running into some small but significant structural problems; scenes that played well by themselves but — like a piece on a jigsaw puzzle that almost looks like the right shape and color — don’t really fit, and in no small part because the jigsaw puzzle itself is subtly but significantly changing as it’s being assembled.[1]
Second, I found my work schedule increasingly affected by the holidays + family obligations + long standing appointments + last minute changes in plans, etc., etc., and of course, etc.[2]

On the other hand, I did get a lot of writing done, just precious little on the 2nd female barbarian story, and perhaps the silver lining on this is that it will afford me a chance to go back and rework a few things in the first story.[3] My villains have names that look fine at first glance but after you type them a few dozen / hundred times they begin to look awkward and clunky, not a good fit at all so I can change those before posting it as an e-book.

The aforementioned structural issues are relatively small and minor but need to be addressed. Once we get the final battle underway I’ve no anxiety about puling it off: I wrote for Thundarr, I wrote for Dungeons & Dragons, I wrote for Conan, I have a good setting and a ferocious enemy so this should be fun.

When not working on the barbarian story (which was too damn often), I put together some essays, short stories, fictoids, and poems you’ll be seeing shortly. I’ve got a number of things written out in long hand in notebooks[4] that I need to transcribe[5] so they will start making the market rounds or prepped for posting soon.

on writing - william faulkner

[1] These are not major issues, merely minor ones of staging. If John and Jane started the story as brother and sister, it makes perfect sense for them to have a scene eating breakfast with their parents, but if the story changes and they’re no longer related then something has to be done about that scene because it no longer fits.

[2] I am by nature a night owl and my most productive hours usually occur after 10pm and on to 1am – 2 am – 3am – crack o’dawn. The house is quiet then — or should be, if that #%@&ing Jeffrey Cat would just keep his yap shut — and I can get into a rhythm and flow that really lets me chug along. I can work during daylight hours, too, but I am a creature of habit and the sort of person who needs to build up a head of steam before I can really begin work. In an ideal schedule I would wake sometime between 9am and noon, do some exercise, have some breakfast, read and watch some TV, then begin noodling ideas and thoughts together, doing housekeeping chores (both literal and literary) until after dinner, then some family / friend time, then I kiss my wife good-night and tuck her in at 10pm, and get hammering away at 10:01pm. But the cat has been corrupted by my late aunt (from whom we inherited him, and it’s a mitzvah to take care of Jeffrey until he departs and Jeffrey, old son, we do not want you to suffer and we will miss you when you are gone but you can’t keel over fast enough for us; and if anyone thinks we treat this cat cruelly or negligently, f.u. he is spoiled rotten) and he is set in his ways meaning somebody has to be up and sitting on the couch and watching TV or he will start yowling and wake Soon-ok up and then nothing gets accomplished so I frequently find my creative train of thought derailed almost as soon as I pull out of the proverbial station.

[3] Which, as threatened promised will be available online shortly.

[4] If I’m downstairs watching TV with the cat, I take a notebook with me to try to keep the juices flowing.

[5] Transcribing and editing being tasks that I can be interrupted on without losing my train of thought as opposed to the laser-like / diamond-hard concentration that goes into creative writing. Soon-ok has nearly provoked a heart attack in me on more than one occasion by drifting into my office with ghost-like quietness and unintentionally startling me when I suddenly become aware of her presence; luckily we’ve managed to instill the habit in her of calling my name or knocking before she enters so my brain isn’t caught completely flat footed.

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“This Is What You Shall Do” by Walt Whitman


This is what you shall do:
Love the earth and sun and the animals,
Despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks,
Stand up for the stupid and crazy,
Devote your income and labors to others,
Hate tyrants, argue not concerning God,
Have patience and indulgence toward the people,
Take off your hat to nothing known or unknown,
Or to any man or number of men,
Go freely with powerful uneducated persons,
And with the young and with the mothers of families,
Read these leaves in the open air,
Every season of every year of your life,
Reexamine all you have been told,
At school at church or in any book,
Dismiss whatever insults your own soul,
And your very flesh shall be a great poem,
And have the richest fluency not only in its words,
But in the silent lines of its lips and face,
And between the lashes of your eyes,
And in every motion and joint of your body.

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Gustave Flaubert On Poetry


Gustauve Flaubert on poetry

“There is not a particle
of life which does not
bear poetry within it.”
— Gustave Flaubert

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“The Cultivation of Christmas Trees” by T.S. Eliot


There are several attitudes towards Christmas,
Some of which we may disregard:
The social, the torpid, the patently commercial,
The rowdy (the pubs being open till midnight),
And the childish — which is not that of the child
For whom the candle is a star, and the gilded angel
Spreading its wings at the summit of the tree
Is not only a decoration, but an angel.

The child wonders at the Christmas Tree:
Let him continue in the spirit of wonder
At the Feast as an event not accepted as a pretext;
So that the glittering rapture, the amazement
Of the first-remembered Christmas Tree,
So that the surprises, delight in new possessions
(Each one with its peculiar and exciting smell),
The expectation of the goose or turkey
And the expected awe on its appearance,

So that the reverence and the gaiety
May not be forgotten in later experience,
In the bored habituation, the fatigue, the tedium,
The awareness of death, the consciousness of failure,
Or in the piety of the convert
Which may be tainted with a self-conceit
Displeasing to God and disrespectful to children
(And here I remember also with gratitude
St. Lucy, her carol, and her crown of fire):

So that before the end, the eightieth Christmas
(By “eightieth” meaning whichever is last)
The accumulated memories of annual emotion
May be concentrated into a great joy
Which shall be also a great fear, as on the occasion
When fear came upon every soul:
Because the beginning shall remind us of the end
And the first coming of the second coming.


art © by John Cox

thanx to
for the tip off

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Writing Report December 21, 2016


A lot of writing, but very little on my 2nd female barbarian story.

The first was rejected by the 2nd publisher I sent it to so expect to see it soon as a Kindle book(let). I’m planning on pricing it at 99-cents.

The second is still aimed at the third publisher, but I need to get back in gear on it. I’ve done no real work on it since last week other than a couple of notes to myself about what I should do.

I did write a short factoid (very short!) and rediscovered another one I’d written last month but forgot about (I tend to do that; once I’ve completed something or otherwise turned a corner, I put it down and walk away from it).

Both fall into an area I’ve been exploring more and more in my short fiction recently, the interaction of humans and AI, and the question of when and how AI will become truly sentient and self-aware and what the moral and ethical implications of that for both AIs and humans are.

When I get enough of those together,
I’ll probably put out a themed anthology.

Until then, I’m opting not to send them out
on the short-short / flash fiction circuit.

I don’t know what that market is looking for,
but based on the reactions I’ve received
on other work, this ain’t it…

mike-hinge-sci-fi-illoart by Mike Hinge

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sometimes it hits you


sometimes it hits you

that like it or not

you had an impact on other people

an influence on their lives

for good or ill

something you said

something you wrote

something you did

drastically changed the way they viewed the world

and subsequently the way the world viewed them

we will all be held accountable

for what we have done

of this I am certain

so let me forgive those

who influenced me badly

and pray

my sins

will be


as well

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Writing Report December 13, 2016


No significant progress on the female barbarian story, at least not in overall word count. I went back and made some changes in the first part of the story, realizing my location bore a certain passing resemblance to Petra, the fabled “rose red city half as old as time” and if I was going to have even a faint allusion to Petra, I might as well go all the way and that’s when I remembered Derinkuyu, which is an even more incredible underground city (and one of many!) in Turkey.


So I re-wrote some of the opening and now I’m exploiting the confined sense of those cities plus providing a very interesting stage for the final confrontation (setting it in an underground city gives me the ability to set up my climax more believably since one of the chief components of my heroine’s victory is now already part of the city).

I’m midway thru a crucial scene where my heroine and the one person she thought she could trust now realize just how little they really do trust one another. Another couple of thousand words to finish laying track, they I can get down to the wholesale slaughter that will climax the story.

I’m slightly under 19,000 words at this stage so once the remainder of my info drop is done and the climax written, I should be clocking in around 25,000 to 27,000 words.

We shall see,
we shall see…

Last night as I was getting ready for bed I had an idea for a short story so I took a notebook I keep in the bedroom with the intent of jotting down the broad strokes then working on it later (much later, as in “after I finish the female barbarian story” later).

But before I wrote down the general idea, the opening sentence to the story struck me so I thought, well, write that down then the general idea but then the next paragraph presented itself and then the next and…

Bottom line, at about 3:40am I had a new short story written, “The Vulture,” clocking in at around 1,300 words.

I’m cleaning it up and kicking it out the front door tomorrow; I’ll sleep on it first.

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haiku for the city of angels


professional lady /
has history with night clerk /
leads her john back out//

the bride hikes her gown /
her groom holds her silver shoes /
while she wears sneakers //

fast food restaurant /
big multicolor playset /
looks like a tumor //

Chinatown at dawn /
a big empty gaudy stage /
with the house lights on /

/like a Christmas tree /
taillights funnel up the ramp /
blue-and-white on top




© Buzz Dixon



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David Lynch Is One Of The Wisest People On The Planet


David Lynch on coffee

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Writing Report November 30, 2016


Just a short one today. NaNoWriMo is drawing to an end, and I’m nowhere near their target of 50K words or my own of 25K words.


I am happy with where I am right now on the second female barbarian fantasy story. As mentioned earlier, I got off on the wrong foot when I started and had to go back and begin afresh, but this second draft is seeming to take.

I wrote a total of 1,680 words at last night’s NaNoWriMo event at The Open Book in Santa Clarita, so progress is being made. Add this to what’s already in the digital file (I’m writing at NaNoWriMo events in a collegiate notebook, my favorite means of composition on the go) and I’m at 16K+ words and roughly slightly past the hallway mark of the story.

I’ve got until early January to complete the story and get it off to the 3rd market I mentioned earlier. Should this and / or the first story fail to sell by Spring 2017 they’ll go up as ebooks on Amazon.


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