Sunday, February 27, 2011

Car number 1 - contender

KIA Sportage- she is not happy with white but she liked the size and feel of the Sportage. And we continue onward..
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Car shopping begins...

I am a bit excited. New or newer cars are always exciting. Off to the races! Sort of...

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Friday, February 25, 2011

Purrrrfect Spot to Rest

...and she doesn't limit herself to just my computer folks. I can't help but laugh almost every time she does this. I think she is lobbying to rename this blog to "Cat Get Off My Book".

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Don't Look at Me!; "Saga of a Two Year Old: As Told by an Uncle"

This story is just too funny to not end up in print. 

My brother, a fairly new father, has made me a fairly new Uncle Nick.  He has the cutest two year old with golden locks of hair and an attitude that is one part sweet Cindy Lou-Who and one part Wanda Sykes. She is the type of little girl that everyone lives to make smile, she knows it, and only smiles begrudgingly in return.  But it is so brilliant when she does smile, that she has adults acting like two year olds in their attempt to make her teeth show and her eyes light up. 

I have seen grown men and women take turns talking like a two year old, rolling on the floor, running around the house, playing Ring Around the Rosie, spinning in circles, putting removable stickers on windows, sitting in under-sized chairs to feed fake food to dolls, and the list goes on.  And that is just the stuff I have done in pursuit of that smile.

My brother, Chris, is trying to bring this little bundle of joy into the respectable ranks of regulated society by teaching her how to poop and pee in a tiny fake toilet that will eventually transfer into a real toilet.  Apparently this process works one day and then does not work on another day.  When she goes in the toilet it is a joyous experience and everyone is just delighted.

Then there are the other times.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Outlining: Love to Hate it

So, I am trying something new on this novel and actually outlining it.  On my last novel I just came up with an idea, sat down, and started writing.  Oh, occasionally I would use a notepad and try and keep an idea in order, but more often than not I tried to create a nuanced, multi-layered story just "going with the flow".

The result was a good first try, which as we all know is not nearly good enough to be a "get on the bookshelf" try.  I like to think there were some good parts, some moments of writing competence, but it needs work.  It needs lots of work.  So for now, after four years of struggling, I have put it into a drawer. 

This new novel, which is also in the fantasy genre, is my first attempt at structure and official pre-meditated character development.  It is also the first time that I decided the rules of a three act structure should apply to me as well.  I used to scoff at the idea because I firmly believed that a good story was a good story and you need not concern yourself with the confines of traditional literature.

I suppose I am wrong on a level, because many writers I respect adhere to this as if it were gospel.  But how can we strive for something new in our form if we are adhering to a traditional structure?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Accident schmaccident

Wow.  Writing everyday is certainly a challenge.  Things come up that you would never expect.  The cat knocks the computer over, hence my blog title.  Lightning knocks the power out.  Or in the case of last night, the little lady gets in an accident because a blue-hair with vision problems was speeding home during rush hour and texting on his cell phone while trying to figure out his GPS.

To be honest, I was amazed this elderly gentleman could even handle half of that and still stay on the road.  I wasn't even mad; just impressed.  I was home at 6:41 pm and was looking forward to an uninterrupted block of writing somewhere in the realm of three hours.  Then the call came.

Her: "I'm alright, but I was in an accident."

Me: "Are you okay (even though she just said she was)."

Her: "Yes, can you come and get me; I think the car needs to be towed".

Me: (Irritated since I know she is okay even though I don't mean to be) "Yes.  It will take me a minute though because I need to get gas."

Her: (Freaking out as the accident catches up to her mentally) "Just get here! The police are on their way and its getting dark out."

Then she hung up. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

And so the long weekend concludes

It was fun while it lasted.  I accomplished a ton of things this weekend and none of them had anything to do with the "work on my career" type stuff that I had hoped it would include.  That's okay though, you have to roll with the punches.

First things first, I went to an award ceremony on Saturday evening in Orlando, Fl.  I stayed in a very nice hotel room with even better company.  It was exciting to see the awards process as well as what the parameters and metrics of success are for a franchise group.

Afterward, it was theme park time and let me say this: Universal Studios (Islands of Adventure) has a long way to go.  I was not impressed. 99.9% of all people who go to Islands of Adventure are there to see the new Harry Potter park.  The Harry Potter attraction unfortunately, was closed to most of the public for most of the day.  And they didn't tell you this at the gate where you shell out $495.00 for three people with express passes so you don't have to wait in line like the rest of the common folk.  This is a joke guys, they don't make people much more common than me. Instead you go in to the park at noon, fully intending to stay for three or four hours and then returning home so that somebody can start studying for a PhD midterm and so that I can get to outlining my novel. It is at this point, after making a bee-line for the castle of Hogwarts, that a staff member who is blocking access to the park hands you a ticket and says, "You can return at 5:30 to see the park, it is too full."

I was irritated at this point

Friday, February 18, 2011

Dinner with my schizo mom

This should be interesting. She is such a warmhearted person who has really gone through a ton in life. But wow, can dinners get surreal. Details to follow...
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I love this woman.

So we are sitting at Outback Steak House because my Chevy factory worker man's man of a step-father loves the Melbourne 22oz steak there and it is in walking distance.  We had to wait an hour because we forgot it was a Friday night and no one made reservations.  That's okay, though, because we were able to talk a lot and isn't that really why you go to dinner with people?

As we are waiting for our food and my mom professes to be on the verge of passing out, we do what my family does best and surround actual conversation with what we presume to call witty banter.  Jen is explaining how she is getting her PhD.,teaching high school, teaching a college class, and doing a research lab and taking another class on Saturdays.

My mom looks her dead in the eye and says "Stress isn't good for you.  I know.  You don't want to end up a loon like me".  Then she proceeds to cackle in that loving way that only moms, wives, and witches can pull off.

As if that weren't enough...

It feels like high school all over again...

...since I am losing my virginity, my blog virginity, all over again!  This blog is going to be dedicated to my ramblings as a 'wanna be' author and the trials and tribulations that come with trying to get my stories into the hands of well as anything else that, ehrm, pops up.

This blog begins as my first novel ends.  I have finished one full-length novel, that was promptly butchered (in a good way) by my editor Thomas Bernardo.  He gave me many tips and insights that could apply either to my rewrite of novel number one, or to a whole new adventure.  Seeing as how my first novel was a slow burn that took over four years of stop and go work, suffice it to say I have grown weary of it and am looking to explore new ideas that seem to pop up in my head uninvited. 

Now, because I know you will ask, I will spend a moment discussing the title of this page, "Cat Get Off My Keyboard".  If you own a wondrous little furry friend that eats bugs, throws up regularly, or seems to lick herself as much as she sleeps; then you already know.  My title refers to my kitten (kittens?  I will never admit to the second since that would make me a cat lady and I am a guy) who no matter where I hide myself and my laptop instantly decides that SHE belongs on my lap instead of said computer. Very well.  You win this round cat.  Now rue the consequences of having my blog dedicated to your nefarious actions.

I have to admit, I am enjoying this too much.  Often times the process of brainstorming and completing a novel can be a cumbersome one.  Then, when you get through that adventure, you end up in a situation where you probably thought the novel was done, sent out an ill-advised query letter or fifty,  heard about an editor, who then told you your story rocks but "let me show you these weak spots and structural errors so you can write it all over again". This usually happens just as your first wave of rejection letters clutter up your in-box, mailbox, or whatever box can house the device that can so destroy your soul. It can be a very humbling, grating, exhilarating, joyous, fearful occasion.

So writing, just to write, is nice.

On that note, enough of this fun writing, time for me to get back to outlining novel number two. In case you were wondering, it has nothing to do with novel numero uno which is a mafia crime thriller.