Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Update through February


When we did this last time:

As of 1/23, the four WIPs along with my plans for them:
    •    The Faux Princess: 91 300 words, to beta reader by Jan 31;
    •    The Voyages Home: 2500 words, draft complete by April 30;
    •    Princess (A Beckie and Ian story): 51 000 words, draft complete by April 30, and
    •    Low Places (A Beckie and Ian story): 50 000 words, draft complete by Feb 15.

As of 2/1, the four WIPs along with my plans for them, are:
    •    The Faux Princess: 90 956 words, sent to beta reader Jan 30;
    •    The Voyages Home: 2500 words, no change; draft complete by April 30;
    •    Princess (A Beckie and Ian story): 51 000 words, no change; draft complete by April 30, and
    •    Low Places (A Beckie and Ian story): 65 932 words, still on track to complete draft by Feb 15.

So, how did I do?

As of today (3/1), the four WIPs along with my plans for them, are
    •    The Faux Princess: 90 954 words was sent to beta reader Jan 30; notes came back by 2/12 and have lain waiting for Low Places to be complete. Goal is to have it ready to publish by 3/31.
    •    The Voyages Home: 8382 words; draft complete by April 30;
    •    Princess (A Beckie and Ian story): 51 000 words, no change; draft complete by April 30, and
    •    Low Places (A Beckie and Ian story): 81 365 words; failed to complete draft by Feb 15. The goal is now to have the draft by 3/15, and on to my long suffering beta ready by 3/31.

Here’s February’s work:



I wrote 36 219 original words in February, averaging 1294 per day, with six days of writing nothing and two more of not very much. The short title is at the right, you see it includes blog posts.

What happened to Low Places? About the twentieth, I reread it through, since it was almost finished… I thought. If you follow the calculations, while I wrote 36 000 words in February, the totals for Voyages and Low account for only 21 315. The missing words went into three alternate endings for Low. I finally figured out that I had three different ways to end it because I’d made a mistake at a fork point⁠—choosing the wrong path. Since then, I have added some words, but mostly it’s been revising words already down to fit the new⁠—hopefully improved⁠—ending. It’s likely to take me two more weeks.                                                                                                                                                                                           
The spreadsheet: Created by Svenja. See svenjaliv.com for more info and resources, including a free online word meter. All images are © 2011-2016 SvenjaLiv (http://svenjaliv.com).

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

In Memoriam: Chez Pazienza

Chez Pazienza (1969 - 2017) died last Saturday, probably fifty years too soon.

Chez wrote his life. Don’t mistake that for not living his life; he did that also. But to my mind, his writing is the Chez we will remember.

I’m old enough that I don’t recall how I originally happened on his blog, Deus Ex Malcontent, Making a Mockery of Mockery. The blog filled with personal stories of heartbreak and success, the blog that got him fired from CNN (Their game, their rules, he said.), the outlet for the feelings and scorn that he brought to The Daily Banter. It may have been from /. I found Megatokyo there, after all, so certainly not all bad.

We exchanged a few (far too few) comments on topics he’d written, but that was, except for my waiting each day to see if he’d updated, the extent of our relationship. It’s too much to even call it a relationship; I loved his work, and supported the Banter and Chez’ foray into on-the-ground reporting from Ferguson, but otherwise never had contact.


Not that I ever would have. His life was far different than mine—not least in that I’m typing this while he’s gone. But a look at the Banter pages revealing his death and the comments there leave a strong message that my loss isn’t just mine; more, others have lost even more than I. I haven’t had health issues, suffered drug addiction, lived through broken marriages. I didn’t volunteer to assist in New York after 9/11; I didn’t do most of the things that made Chez’ life his and his alone.

But we both lived. I’ve read his book, Dead Star Twilight, through twice. If I can bear it, I’ll read it again. Not soon, though.

The officials haven’t announced a formal cause of death, however, Ben Cohen reports:

"He OD'ed. The asshole," Chez's fiancĂ©e Taryn told Bob Cesca.

Like many of the commenters at the Banter, I believe Chez did not OD intentionally. It wasn’t the way he’d seek attention, and while he battled depression, he had much to live for.

My writing is not nearly a shadow of his; I regret a world where anyone needs escape as badly as Chez did, and I’ll miss him without ever knowing him directly.

Whatever you found, Chez, I hope it’s better than what you left.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

January Update

From my post of 1/23, my goals:

As of 1/23, the four WIPs along with my plans for them:
    •    The Faux Princess: 91 300 words, to beta reader by Jan 31;
    •    The Voyages Home: 2500 words, draft complete by April 30;
    •    Princess (A Beckie and Ian story): 51 000 words, draft complete by April 30, and
    •    Low Places (A Beckie and Ian story): 50 000 words, draft complete by Feb 15.

So, how did I do?

As of today, Feb 1, my four WIPs are:
    •    The Faux Princess: 90 956 words, sent to beta reader Jan 30 (met this goal);
    •    The Voyages Home: 2500 words, no change; draft complete by April 30;
    •    Princess (A Beckie and Ian story): 51 000 words, no change; draft complete by April 30, and
    •    Low Places (A Beckie and Ian story): 65 932 words, still on track to complete draft by Feb 15.

My January progress above isn’t indicative of the entire month, which you can see in this figure:






I did 43 569 original words in January, averaging 1405 per day, with four days of writing nothing and three or four more of not very much. The cut-off portion has additional stats.

The spreadsheet: Created by Svenja. See svenjaliv.com for more info and resources, including a free online word meter. All images are © 2011-2016 SvenjaLiv.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Women’s March Boston 2017

January 21 dawned cloudy, chilly, unwelcoming. My wife invited me to go with her to the Women’s March downtown. Quickly we decided driving would be for hardier souls than we; we opted for commuter rail leaving Canton Junction.

A check of the schedule, we could take the eight o’clock train, arriving South Station in Boston at 8:43, or the nine o’clock, arriving at 9:43. Later trains would arrive… later. Late, based on the published schedule. The nine o’clock train looked eminently doable.

Four bucks purchased parking at the station. Thirty bucks purchased two round-trip Zone 3 tickets, downloaded to our phones. We were off.

Arrived at the station intentionally early. It was… barren, except for workers replacing stairs to the bridge over the tracks.

Canton Junction 8:40

We met another couple headed in; the pussy ears hat was a dead giveaway. And in pink. They’d taken the ferry from Martha’s Vineyard Friday night, and were now waiting with us for the train.

Daisy and Bob


More people showed up. At 9:07, still eight minutes before the scheduled arrival time, and fifteen minutes before the actual arrival time, the platform had filled somewhat. It would fill more.

Canton Junction 9:07 - Notice the people further back.
The train arrived, as I said, twenty or so minutes late. Boarded it, and the reason for the delay became obvious. The T had anticipated somewhat lower ridership than they were faced with. Six or seven of the double-decker cars, and the ones we looked in (and eventually stood in) were SRO. The conductors did not (could not?) even collect fares or tickets. But except for standing the whole way (an extravagant 40 minutes or so), the ride was fine.

After a speedy walk from South Station to the Common (eleven and a quarter minutes for the first kilometer, nearly the whole way), a not so speedy walk ensued from the Park Street T kiosk at Winter Street to the spot marked on the map below. It was still cloudy and chilly.

Where we stood for the festivities,

 We were not alone, though this photo doesn't do the crowd justice. It was taken about 10:40, so still about an hour before the festivities were to begin. We were just south of the State House, between it and the Tadpole Playground.

Lots of pussy hats! Headed to the actual meeting spot. 10:40

We chose to stand beside a tree so we wouldn't be closed in on all sides.

We waited there for the program to begin. I clicked photos of some of the signs we saw, honoring many different beliefs. I won't apologize for the words or the implications; if you are easily offended, especially by truth, you should click somewhere else.

BMC Supports Women's Rights

Stay Steady and Resist; Our Bodies Our Choice Feminist

Quakers for ...; Rights for... Matter

With Liberty & Justice for All; Pro-Women Pro-Family Pro-Choice; Health Care... A Human Right


No Mandate for Hate; Educate Agitate Organize!

The Emperor has... No Clue!; With Liberty and Justice for All

Don't Blame Me I Voted for Her; Make America Think Again; 10:50, still a half hour to go.
Before the festivities began, Beacon Street, behind the fence, was blocked off and packed; the iron fence marking the boundary of the Common was hidden from view by marchers.

Trump: Boorish Banal Buffoon

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun-Damental Human Rights
Build a Wall Around... Hate; Women Not Up for Grabs; Make America Kind Again

I'm With Her

President Tweety is for the Birds

Stop Skipping Briefings and Stop Tweeting Fake News

We Expect Better

Girls Just Want to Have Fun-Ding for Planned Parenthood

Climate Change is Real Science is Real
Men of Quality do not Fear Equality; Boston She Party; Women's Rights Are Human Rights

First, Do No Harm

Can't Believe We Still Have to Protest This Shit; We Cannot be Silent About the Things that Matter

Chin Up Fangs Out; Women Unite for Justice Fairness & Respect; We all Bleed the Same Color...

Women's Rights Are Not Up for Grabs

 In the background of the Women' Rights... image, the crowd on the hill between the Soldiers and Sailors Monument and the stage is filling in. This is at 11:00, still a half hour or so before the music started.


Respeta Mi Existencia o Espera Mi Resistencia
We Will Not Be Silent; Make America Think Again; Tiny Hands...
 In the We Will Not Be Silent image, the sun has made an appearance through thinning clouds. In a few minutes, the sky cleared quite nicely.

Nasty Women Love Fairness; Compassion Respect Integrity...

Later, while the program was going on, four kids and a couple of adults were atop the NECN van, to get a better view. The NECN crew wasn't live, I guess, so no one bothered them up there.

I'm Teaching Her & My Son Everyone Counts!

Bullying: A Problem Not A Solution; History Has Its Eyes On You
After this photo (taken at 11:15-still fifteen minutes before things got going), I switched to video, and the following are from those clips. Not sure the audio is good enough to include Senator Warren's ten minute speech, unfortunately.

Make America Great Again: Impeach Trump
 The Impeach Trump image is looking away from the stage, back toward the way in. The crowd has filled in nicely.

Looking toward the hill again.

Not Our President; We're Not Going Back; Boston She Party
 In the Not Our President image, Beacon Street has filled in, as has the Common between my location and the iron fence. Remember that? It's there, behind the marchers.

No Man is Good Enough to Govern Any Woman w/o Her Consent; Respect

#Feminasty; Make America Sane Again; Truth Matters...

Then the actual march began, perhaps spurred slightly by the masses shouting March! March! March! From our spot amongst the trees, it took us forty-five minutes to walk a kilometer--perhaps thrown off a little by the slow pace until we finally exited the Common (no way to escape without climbing walls or fences, for which I'm too old! We eased our way to the borders of the marchers and were able to pick up our pace so the next two kilometers took about fifteen minutes each, and then we shot (well, it felt like it) to South Station in another twelve minutes. But we made it!

So just to wrap things up...
I normally avoid any event where I'm likely to meet even tens of my fellow Americans. Exceptions abound, of course: Fenway for Patriots Day and trips to the mall the day before Christmas, for example. This definitely pushed all those buttons, to which I must add, for me, my old age and decrepitude makes walking slowly, with nothing to hold on to, on uneven surfaces a chore. Kudos and thanks to the several people who gave me a hand or forgave my falling into them.

It was worth it. Even though the event wasn't really a surprise (it's Massachusetts, duh!), given how many people in our country voted against what is right, not only for them but for millions of others, the crowd was a relief! I'm glad I did it, even though anyone who fails to read this blog will never know that I personally was in that crowd--that Sean Spicer would claim was either 10,000 or a million, depending on his master--I know I was there. Keep it going!

Reliable reports are that between 135,000 and 175,000 people joined together on the Common. We had music, singing, cheering, fiery speeches, lots of pussy hats and for most of it, a mostly sunny day with temperatures comfortable in the low to mid-fifties. There were NO arrests reported.

By the way, if you ever wondered why Boston has so many pieces of snow removal equipment...

Seriously? Block the drive to the Four Seasons?

Needed three here, whereas for most other intersections, one parked obliquely did the trick.

I'm sure the Police and Public Works Departments are happy to get some extra use out of the plows/sanders, instead of renting those flimsy barriers. Most every intersection into the march area was blocked by one or, as above, more pieces of equipment. In some case, a police car or fire truck had been added to fill a gap.

Our trip home was as uneventful as the trip in, although it began with a nearly two hour wait for the train. We were fortunate, I guess, in that the train before, that we just missed, broke down and had to return to South Station. The T is capable of change; the outbound train had two or two and a half times the number of cars the inbound one had had. And it was pretty full by the time it left Back Bay (the last in-the-city stop), with some standees. We got to display our on-the-phone tickets to the conductor just as we got up to exit.

We enjoyed the day, and I hope you did, too, albeit vicariously. Respect others and resist!

170122 Edited to correct spelling and add some final thoughts.

Update for the New Year

Warning: Political Comment follows update.

It is 2017; we made it into the new year, contrary to what some nay-sayers said.


J.E. Medrick’s Shackled, which I mentioned in my last post, is now live at Amazon, the only site I checked. Check it out; it’s worth a look.

My new fantasy offering, previously thought of as Dragons Run My Life, is now titled The Faux Princess. There are a couple things I need to resolve, but it’s nearly ready for a beta reader. I’ve also written a few thousand words of book 2, tentatively named The Voyages Home.

In the Beckie and Ian world, Low Places has grown to 50 000 words; still, several scenes seem necessary to hit the climax.

Some advice from friends in the UK argues that my inciting event in Princess (no matter the final name) is believable in the post-Brexit UK, so that’s now a thing I can go back to. This of course only applies to the inciting event, not to the balance of the plot; that’s all on me.

As of today, the four WIPs along with my plans for them, are
    •    The Faux Princess: 91 300 words, to beta reader by Jan 31;
    •    The Voyages Home: 2500 words, draft complete by April 30;
    •    Princess (A Beckie and Ian story): 51 000 words, draft complete by April 30, and
    •    Low Places (A Beckie and Ian story): 50 000 words, draft complete by Feb 15.

Political comment follows (reminder, read the words at the top about my opinions):

I feel no more confidence than I have since the election proved that people will vote against their own self-interest. Amusingly (I suppose), events since show that some regret… some of it. On the other hand, others, apparently, revel in it. I’ve read several attempts to explain the rationale of people in Tennessee and Kentucky (the published reports focus there) who depend on the ACA to work, to live, to, in words of one syllable, not die, now complaining that the Republicans they elected (80+% of the vote) are doing what they’ve said they would do: eliminate the ACA.

Except of course they called it Obamacare, and he’s one of  ‘those.’ One exchange on Twitter was enlightening. Someone, clearly throughly and well-indoctrinated, said (paraphrasing since I can’t find the actual screen-shots right now) while agreeing that Obamacare must be repealed⁠—destroyed⁠—he’d be okay because, you guessed it, he’s covered by the ACA, and nothing’s going to happen to the ACA! Clearly, he believed what he was saying. Which doesn’t make it true. I have full confidence that until it happens, he won’t believe it. He may not believe it then.

Published reasons seem to boil down to racism, xenophobia and low education levels, all hallmarks of the "Grand Old Party."

So, that’s it from here. Next post recalls our trip yesterday to Women’s March Boston 2017 with 135 000 or more like-minded souls.

Comments welcome.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year!

And about time, too.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Wrap-up After NaNo

Congratulations to everyone who entered NaNo! I hope you met your expectations, and that, like me, you’ve donated what you can afford to help keep them going.

For me: Not bad. 62K words at the time RL stepped in, which is the best I’ve done to date. I was (kinda-sorta) fortunate in that I threw my back out, so for more than a week, I could only sit. That corresponded with our Verizon FIOS interface box dying, and being without TV (no loss for me), Internet (got rid of that time-sink at the expense of current news) and ‘landline’ phone (none of those ‘city-state’ calls that mean so much to us).

Therefore, I sat and mostly wrote when I didn’t gobble the OTC meds the Urgent Care recommended. Those had the usual effect⁠—none⁠—but since noticing the opioid epidemic, I guess they’re loathe to prescribe anything that might work, for fear all us mindless dolts become addicted. Oh, well.

Most of the NaNo words went to Dragons Run My Life, which I may make the series title, rather than the book. The Muddy Redhead might work for the book. I’ll see. As for the story, it’s nearly done, at about 82K words. More than I thought it would need. I played with some fonts for the paperback, and printed a copy to review in a week or so.

The balance of my NaNo words, some five or six thousand, went to Low Places, leaving me where I had to do some research to continue writing. I’m doing that now.

In addition, I wrote and posted a review for Emily Martha Sorensen’s Dragon’s Hope (see next earlier post). I still recommend it! Bene nota: her dragons and mine aren't the same!

Also, I edited and formatted Shackled for JE Medrick that I hope will be available soon. I’ll post when I get that word.