Friday, July 29, 2005

As the summer progresses...

Here we are, almost into August already. Where did the time go? I spent half of June and all of July teaching a condensed credit course. The money was good, but it cut into way too much of my writing time - however, given that the computer was 'in the shop', all writing had been conducted by hand, in journals, or simply working out ideas in my head.

I've begun several new books that will take me through the autumn and into the winter. As well, I'm working on a short story collection that I will market, come the late winter. I have numerous queries out on various pieces and expect that I'll hear back on most of these by some time in September.

Sent a collaborated novel out to a small house back in mid-April; got high compliments on the writing, but the book wasn't quite what they were looking for - despite their enjoying reading it. It means keeping the work circulating, again and again and again, untl it finds a home.

This is the nice thing about writing short fiction while working on longer projects. Books tie you up; they're fun, and I love writing them, but a great attribute of short fiction is it's ability to be written within a short period of time and out circulating while you work on the longer stuff. Getting these little successes each time you place a short story helps temper the long waits and often frustrating rejections that come with trying to place a novel within the highly competitive book industry.

I'm on the hunt for a literary agent who is versatile enough to be willing to handle both genre and mainstream/literary writing - because I'm versatile enough to write in more than one area. The search continues...

As well as writing fiction, I've begun circulating queries for a narrative non-fiction with a good stab of dark humor in it. Trying to find a good agent isn't easy.

On a non-writing front, I've acquired three new rats this month: a hairless named Toby Crinkles, my lovely fawn-colored boy named Stanley, and most recently a little dark-haired female we've named Misha Guinevere. I purchased a small animal cage and mounted it to the front of my bicycle. I can now take my rats out for daily runs on the bike (love that scenery and fresh air) - noses pointed into the wind, tails braced for any bumps along the route.

Soon enough summer will give way to the first hints of autumn, when the nights cool and the colors of the landscape begin to deepen in hue. Woodsmoke in chimneys casts a spicy pall over the night air. Already, while in a dollar store the other day, we turned and corner - and came across none other than Hallowe'en decorations lining an aisle. Pumpkin faces and autumnal leaves in garlands. A bit strange in July, but not surprising, given commercial marketing trends.

I sign off for now.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Finally back on line

Finally back on line again after going a month without my computer. New computer (only ten months old) but it required a new motherboard and modem due to repeated problems that often left me without an ability to connect to the internet.

I wrote stories via pencil and paper for a few weeks - this just goes to show how spoiled we are with computers. No cut and paste with pencil...old fashioned editing everything (okay, I kept the first draft and waited for the computer to return) can be a tedious thing.

Several short stories and two novels are out circulating at the moment; summer months slow things down, but with this heat - no small wonder. Days have hit the low thirties (Celcius) with high humidity and spats of thunderstorms.

Two new books on the go, as well as numerous short stories. I'm finishing teaching a summer applied communications course next week; it'll be good to have my time to myself again for August and the first eleven days of September before the whole cycle starts over again.

Got two new pet rats recently; a young beige and white male who is about eight weeks old (arrived on July 6th) who is named Stanley. Today, a four week old hairless blue male who we have called Toby (short for Tobias). These animals make great pets. I can't imagine life without rats. I am now the proud co-habiter with seven rats and five mice.

That's about all of my news for now. Evenings on the front porch, enclosed with screen and Victorian woodwork, candles lit, cold beer or glass of wine in hand are appreciated on days like this in this fine, balmy season. I've been practicing highland drumming, along with the playing of my African djembe drum.

Life is good. Yeah.