The Guilty Party

Monday, September 28, 2009

It's ebook Time!

I am diving into the world of e-books and let me tell you, it's a new experience and I'm learning something practically every step of the way. I had posted Boomerang as a Kindle book on Amazon, but since then I have had the great good fortune to be pointed in the direction of Smashwords.com and the great Style Guide written by Mark Coker has helped me polish up what apparently was a not so great formatting job I had done.

So now Boomerang is also published through Smashwords and the cool thing is that they support numerous formats that cover just about any device, including your run of the mill PC, that someone might have to read books electronically.

The price for the e-book version of Boomerang is just ninety-nine cents. And while it would be great to see those royalties pile up (yep, even at ninety-nine cents a book the guy who wrote it actually receives a bit of cash for his efforts!) if you drop me a note here and say you saw this blog entry, I'll send you a coupon code that can make the book free!

Boomerang on Smashwords

Best to all,

Alan

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Words Since Last Update: 356

Current Word Count: 17567

Current Chapter: Just Finished Eight!

Okay, so I said I would not only have gotten to the end of Eight but be into Nine by the next update (this one). Well, a little case of stomach flu has slowed me down but I'm still happy. I've got a roaring headache and I haven't eaten anything besides crackers and a bit of fruit for the last twenty hours, but Chapter Eight finally makes a bit of sense and I got it to the point I wanted. The ending point.

Today was supposed to be a work day, but after the usual manifestations of stomach flu made themselves at home in (and out) of me last night work was not where I was destined to be today. Slept, fitfully, for almost twelve hours, staggered into the shower, sipped water, sat in the recliner and that was about that for a while. Beethoven called to me again, but not the symphonies I listened to yesterday, woodwind ensemble pieces instead, played nice and softly. Then I thought perhaps I would have a look at the ol YouWriteOn website. I've been a member almost since its inception over three and a half years ago but I haven't participated much this past year. But I clicked on, asked for an assignment, and received a piece that actually was written pretty well. Fun dialogue, good scene setting, the whole shebang. Even through the headache, it was a pleasure to read.

Well, my chicken soup is ready now. I'm hungry.

See ya.

Ha! I got through an entire post without once mentioning Boomerang. Well, until now, that is.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday, September 11, 2009

Words Since Last Update: 401

Current Word Count: 17211

Current Chapter: Still Eight

I know, four hundred words seems pretty good, but honestly, I feel like I'm spinning my wheels, not really making progress. I've been stuck on this one section for way too long and at this point I would just like to walk right past it and try getting into the next one. It's not like I can't go back and make it better once I've given myself a bit of distance, which often provides clarity. And of course sometimes the answer shows up later anyway, and it's just a matter of going back and making the necessary adjustments. I like making adjustments.

I've been listening to Beethoven this afternoon. Spinning old LP's at first, with Walter Gieseking playing the Emperor Concerto and then Solti leading the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in the Sixth Symphony. Just switched to my Beethoven station on Pandora, which is currently serving up Jeno Jando playing Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 13 in E flat major. I'm trying to get back that steely determination to forge ahead in spite of it all. If Ludwig could do it, with as challenging a life as he had, seems I should be able to, one would think.

Yesterday was another late one at work. Go in at three in the afternoon and leave around midnight. The last few weeks "around midnight" has meant a whole lot closer to 1:00 AM or later. This time we had a smaller shipment to process and even after taking care of some stuff that is normally left to the morning crew we were out of there by 11:30 PM. Not bad. I even had an idea while driving home that I tried to incorporate into this troublesome Chapter Eight. Problem was my mind wasn't exactly operating a top speed when I finally got to sit in front of the keyboard and what seemed so brilliant while cruising down the freeway was suddenly darned difficult to put into actual words that held together really well. So while I've done okay in piling on more words, I'm not so confident they are the right ones. We'll see.

Visited Mom today. She was more into her little world than ever, barely acknowledging my existence until just a few minutes before I was ready to leave. I had my guitar again, this time playing some of her favorite show tunes. Not a glimmer of recognition, whereas not that long ago she would give up a little smile or turn the pages for me, which although it was never when I really needed the pages turned, showed me she was at least engaged on some level.

When I came back home it was time for lunch. I had a bit more than half of a large frozen CPK pizza leftover from yesterday, or so I thought. When I took the foil off the plate in the fridge there was one small slice left. So lunch was that and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and few under the breath choice words concerning food pilfering by ones own family.

It is away game night for the marching band tonight, so we will not be attending the game. Instead the wife and I will find ourselves a not very expensive place to have dinner for two and then come back home and watch "Sunshine Cleaning" on DVD. After that it's Stay Awake for the Phone Call telling me our vibraphone playing daughter is ready to end her very long day, come home and get some sleep. After, I would imagine, some sort of nourishing snack. I know I'd want something to eat.

Time to vanquish Chapter Eight. Here's my vow and I'll expect you to hold me to it: No matter how sloppy or generally unsatisfactory it may be at the end of my writing session today, Eight will be done.

At least for now.

And Nine will have at least its first few words.

See ya.

Oh, I've got to say that it has been good to see Boomerang register a couple of sales on Amazon lately. The only problem with these occassional sales is that it makes a person greedy. If two, then why not ten? Surely, there are ten souls out there who would enjoy the book? And if ten, why not ten thousand? Honestly, it's not that big of a leap.

Boomerang on Amazon

Or an autographed one directly from Yours Sincerely can be had right here with the nice PayPal connection near the top right. You can even tell me how you would like it signed. A popular choice is J.K. Rowling.

See ya.

Really.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Words Since Last Update: 94 (we will not dwell on this number, except to say, at least it's something)

Current Word Count: 16810

Current Chapter: Eight

Yep, still on Chapter Eight. Today has been a bit more of a Living a Life than a Writing a Novel time. Another early day at work. At six o'clock this AM I was leading a team of seven in the big push to set-up the current sales campaign at the store. Good people, each and every one of them, resourceful, hard-working, easy to get along with, I could ask for no better working companions. We got a lot done. As a matter of fact in spite of a few challenges we have faced the past two days, we are ahead of schedule and the place looks pretty good. A gratifying day at the ol' day-job.

Then I come home to a bit of a reaction to what I had originally posted as "Monday, September 7, 2009 (part 2). If you scroll on down now, what you will see is my revised version. The original should have never seen the light of day and I have to say I am ashamed of myself for ever hitting the "Publish" button after writing it. I am still ambitious to see Writing a Novel, Living a Life begin attracting a wider readership, but in the original I made a comment about the fellow who has the fascinatingly titled blog The Bloviating* Hammerhead** that was out of line and, if I may say, out of what I hope is my true character. Shame on me.

But oft-times when we do something wrong, and repent, something positive can come of it. Jim Bennett, author of The Bloviating Hammerhead, wrote a comment, I went back and read more of what he has posted, and we have since exchanged a couple of very agreeable notes. We may still have differences of opinion, but thanks to his generous nature, the door was open to a gentlemanly reconciliation and for that I would like to publicly say thanks. To top it all off, Mr. Bennett ordered a copy of Boomerang, an act I will not soon forget. I very much hope he enjoys it.

After the blog hoopla it was time for dinner. My turn to cook. The basil is finally beginning to do something out in what passes for our garden, so it was pasta with pesto this evening. Good eats.

Tomorrow I can sleep a bit later than 4:00 AM. And once the grocery shopping is done I will still have some time before work to get some writing done. Sounds good to me.

See ya,

Alan

* according to my Merriam Webster, "bloviate" means "to speak or write verbosely or windily".

** I have no idea about the Hammerhead part. But you can bet I will be asking Mr. Bennett.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

September 8, 2009

Words Since Last Update: 347

Current Word Count: 16716

Current Chapter: Eight

Okay, I hate to keep bringing up The Olde One, but today it has been more difficult than usual to keep my mind off Boomerang. That's what happens when a copy actually sells through Amazon, which it did yesterday, sending the ranking zooming from over two million to 94,000. That's quite a jump from one sale, but the thing is, unless another sale comes along and soon the giddy atmosphere of a five digit ranking soon dissipates and just a day later here comes 500,000 looming on the horizon, getting nearer and nearer every time I look. Which I shouldn't be doing, I should be writing, right? I told myself I could check on Boomerang twice a day, morning and night, and that was it. But when, after weeks and weeks of no action whatsoever, at least on Amazon, a sale happens and the rank goes nicely up, it makes one think, Hey! maybe folks are finally discovering it! Maybe more sales will happen, and soon! Maybe, just maybe good things will begin to happen.

But it never happens and I should know better. At the very least I should let it do its own thing and just keep moving forward.

But you know, that's not easy. Not one bit. So I guess what with having to be at work at six o'clock this morning and the break room being noisy as heck while I was trying to write during lunch, and things needing doing when I got home, I should be glad for a word count of three hundred and forty seven words today. And although not a whole lot of forward progress was made, what I produced today is, I think good stuff.

See ya.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Words Since Last Report: 548

Current Word Count: 16369

Current Chapter: Eight

Labor Day, so of course it was a work day for me. Makes sense, does it not? It was a good day, busy, with a project well underway and lots of customers to help, which is always nice. I like getting projects done, but I like helping people find what they need even more, especially when they really don't think there is a solution for what they are trying to accomplish.

CEfJ is shaping up better almost every day, although maybe I'd better not say anything like that in case it makes the trend reverse. But I really do feel that as long as I'm putting words down on a regular basis, you know, making a habit of writing? Gee, what a revolutionary idea.

I have just introduced a new character by the name of Sarah Warner. She is with the State Department and she is six-feet three inches tall and she isn't very happy about the fact that Rimtan keeps wandering away. If you want to know who Rimtan is (and why wouldn't you?) please check out my in-progress chapters right here on my blog. Each chapter has its own page.

There may be a corpse soon. I know, I said that before, but really, it looks to be inevitable now. Maybe Chapter Ten.

Under the Well, Isn't That Swell! category of news I am happy to report that Boomerang has sold another copy on Amazon. An actual, paper copy this time. It may have something to do with the report making the rounds that my first novel is in the process of being optioned by film auteur Quentin Tarantino, I really don't know, but it's a sale so I'll take it.

See ya.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Words Since Last Update: 214

Current Word Count: 15821

Current Chapter: Eight

Today is Dad's birthday. He would have been 87 years old. I miss him.

It seems the friendlier my day-job schedule is toward my personal/family life, the less time I have to write. When I had a long string of shifts that started no earlier than 10:00 AM and often started as late as 1:00 PM or later, I was cranking out words at a pretty good clip early in the day before going to work. Now, with a week of mostly early shifts behind me, I can see that progress has slowed considerably.

It's always something.

Most of the progress that I have made the last couple of days has to do with what I guess I will have to accept as part of my writing life, which is Going Back and Making it Better. I have, I think, worked out a couple of kinks that could have come back to bite me in the butt (not to mention cause considerable work) if I had left them for later. Plus, in reworking Chapter Seven a bit I found some clarity for the action I needed in Chapter Eight. So, although my net word count is a miserable 214 over the past couple of days, I've probably written closer to seven or eight hundred as previous bits have been sliced, diced and chucked into the disposal.

Anyway, I just spent over three hours on my Sunday off writing my own performance review for my day job. We won't go into details beyond that. So now I have just a bit of time to turn in my report card here, and squeeze in a few minutes of novel writing before family time takes over (as well it should).

Sixteen thousand is a tougher nut to crack than I thought it would be. But next time we'll be there.

See ya.


Oh, and remember, if you would like to see what I've written so far (and yes, I update the chapters whenever I make changes), you can find them at my Wordpress blog.
Writing a Novel, Living a Life.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Friday, September 4, 2009

Words Since Last Update: 475

Current Word Count: 15607

Current Chapter: Chapter Eight

Yesterday was a long one. Up at five o’clock, got the kiddo to band practice a little after six, took the dogs for a walk before it got too awful hot, went to the grocery store, deposited that bounty back home, went to Costco to get stuff we needed that the grocery store doesn’t have, or charges too much for, came back home, had lunch, and then did some writing.

And then about quarter after two in the afternoon it was time to go to work. Got home from work around two this morning. Read and snacked and generally wound down for a while before hitting the hay around 3:00. And for some reason I woke up a little after 8:00 this morning and it just seemed I needed to get up. For some reason I haven’t exactly felt what you might call perky today. But I did yardwork (pulled lots of weeds, mowed the lawn, picked a whole bunch of limes), got a load of laundry done, cleaned up the kitchen, dusted the house and now, when I should be writing my book, I can’t keep from warming up the ol’ fingers with an entry here.

One of my writing friends has a much more extensive list of blogs she follows (she’s a lot more organized than I am) and one of those blogs belongs to a literary agent by the name of Rachelle Gardner. Last week I checked it out since Ms. Gardner was conducting a sort of talent search for guest bloggers. I submitted my entry then and I guess we’ll see pretty soon if I will have, at least for a short period of time, a much wider audience for my musings. When I was doing the wee hours wind-down after work, I clicked on Ms. Gardner’s blog again and this week her subject is “Reasons Not to Quit”. She was said she wanted to know what keeps writers and publishing professionals going when there are so many obstacles to success. Tough question to answer without hauling out the cliche wagon, but the thought I had to offer was that this blog helps keep me from quitting. These words I’m typing right now may only be seen by me and God, and She may be multi-tasking many times over whilst checking out my word counts, but somehow Writing about Writing Helps Me Write.

Now I’m ready. We’ll see if 16,000 falls into line today before I need to pick up the kiddo from school, make dinner and then go to the first football game of the season. With our daughter in the band, we’re going to a lot of games this year, that’s for sure.

See ya.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Happy One Month Anniversary to Writing a Novel, Living a Life.

On August 3rd, I reported 2598 words so far. That means 12,534 words (net) have been produced in one month's time. At this rate, I should have a first draft at least by February 20, 2010, which is what I'm shooting for. Product ready to send to agents by August 1, 2010.


Okay, that's enough celebration, time to get something done.

Words Since Last Update: 458 (not so hot considering it's been two days)

Word Count So Far: 15132

Current Chapter: Just started Chapter Eight!

You'd think as somebody passing himself off as a writer I would be better at taking notes. You know, jotting down ideas so that when I need them (which is almost never when I actually get them) they are there, ready and willing and fresh as a daisy.

But I'm not there. Case in point, today I did the grocery shopping. I had a list, mostly filled in by my dear wife. I came up with the last dinner idea, which requires "good quality marinara sauce". No problem. Heck, I even found a coupon from ol' blue eyes Paul Newman his own dearly departed self that would save me something like fifty cents on a jar of his stuff. But what I didn't do was write it on the grocery list. Result? You bet, I forgot to buy it at the grocery store. Ended up getting a Costco three pack of Classico sauce instead. Spent more money and it'll probably be a while before we use jars number two and three since we tend to make our own sauces around the Hutcheson household.

Anyway, I know marinara sauce doesn't have much to do with writing a novel, but the same thing, only with worse consequences, happens to me all the time. I'll get a great idea while driving to work, or eating breakfast or as I'm just about to fall asleep or right as I'm waking up and I don't write it down and before you know it, the blasted thing is gone. Poof! And what is worse, Costco doesn't carry what I need to correct that situation, not even in the gallon size.

A quick word here about Boomerang. (The link will take you to Boomerang's Amazon page) Since making it available for Kindle download (and that link will take you to its Kindle page) in April, a total of three people have invested one buck each in the book, and the latest to do so did it just yesterday, as far as I can tell. I think it is neat that books can be made available that way and I'm glad I was able to get Boomerang (and lastly, that link will take you to the page here on Wordpress where you can read the opening chapters) out there like that. But I am worried that my very limited computer skills have resulted in a product that isn't quite what it should be, presentation-wise. Impossible for me to compare to other Kindle downloads since I don't have a Kindle nor do I have an iPhone or iTouch, both of which can take Kindle downloads. All I can do is preview on my computer and for some reason the prologue keeps coming out with weird indents no matter what I try to tweak. So..............if there is anybody out there who can give me a nudge in the right direction for Kindle formatting, please raise your hand. I'd really appreciate it. In the meantime, I do hope those three people who have each put down a dollar on the book enjoy it.

Time to sidle up to 16,000.

See ya

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Words Since Last Update: 221

Current Word Count: 14674

Current Chapter: Still Chapter Seven

What was I saying yesterday about loving short chapters? Going on so proudly about producing an entire, if admittedly petite, chapter in one day? I couldn't leave the darned thing alone and now 221 words later it is less a size three and maybe closer to a size seven. Still svelte, but I'd better watch the excess verbiage calories or Brevity is Wit will become Shut Up Before Someone Throws Something at You.

I hope the additions make it better. I won't worry about it too much for now because it is time to move on to Chapter Eight! What will happen? Who will be involved? Will there finally be a corpse? Will Jerry get a beer? All these and many other questions will be answered as soon as I get my butt in gear and start writing.

On the way home from work today I was listening to an interview with British musician Imogen Heap. I had kind of, sort of heard of her, but had no familiarity with her music. What I found out from the interview was that she likes to use all sorts of things to create the sounds in her songs and she is very fond of the connection with her listeners that she gets through blogging and Tweeting (is that supposed to be capitalized?) Her latest album was created very much in the public eye, with her blogging about it and sharing ideas and feedback with those who were interested. One quote in particular caught my attention:

"It's been so amazing. I've always struggled with this barrier that I felt like I'd had up until blogging came along," Heap says. "Just one comment from somebody really sparks something in me. It doesn't need to be this huge war between me and the listeners anymore. I really thrive on that."

While I have no illusions about achieving the sort of widespread attention Ms. Heap's imaginative and really quite fun music have gotten her, I do think it would be great to have actual by-golly readers* checking out and even chiming in about what I am doing here. Like Ms. Heap, I find a real spark is generated when that sort of interaction takes place. We'll just have to see if the process of writing a novel holds anything like the fascination the making of music.

We're coming up on the one month anniversary of Writing a Novel, Living a Life. I have added about twelve thousand words to this early draft since August 3rd. On September 3rd we'll come up with my precise progress. But in any case, not bad, especially for me. I am mostly doing this on faith, pretty sure that hardly anybody is watching, hardly anybody really caring if I make it to the end. If you would like to bring some spark to the festivities, please know that it will be most welcome.

Here's a link to the interview with Imogen Heap. I think it is worth listening to.

NPR interview with Imogen Heap

See ya.
*It's relatively easy to catch the eye of other not-yet-successful writers, all you have to do is promise to read their stuff and tell them it is brilliant. Not nearly the same thing.

A Bit About Me

My photo
I am a writer with a longtime interest in photography. I'm a dad, husband, photographer, and not very good guitarist. My first novel, Boomerang, is available in both paperback and ebook form at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords.com. As a matter of fact, my second novel, The Baer Boys, can be found at exactly the same places.