Friday, May 31, 2013

Last of the Golden Age S.F. Writers.

Jack Vance has died.

If you go on Wiki and check "Golden Age" writers, they're all gone.  Vance was the last of them.

One of the best of them, in my opinion.  I love his writing -- especially his middle and late period.


Because of the new light fixtures, I was finally inspired to do some changes at the store that I've been thinking about.  I've been very careful about reorders this year, so a few spaces have begun to open up here and there.  Not so's anyone would notice.  Generally, turning a few books or games or toys face out more than fills the gaps.  But I was keeping track.

Sure enough, when I filled the gaps and moved things around, I opened up about 16 linear feet of shelving on the left front of the store, which I put boardgames on, facing the other side of the store that also has boardgames.   It opens up enough space to probably increase my game selection by a third or so.

Since I was able to move games out of the bookspace, which they had infiltrated, I will also have more space for books.  I also took some of the taller displaces down, which should spread the light around and give me line-sight to more parts of the store. 

Nothing was lost, that I can see.  Just a matter of consolidation.  Indeed, as often happens, consolidation is an improvement.


I've started to deal with a few of the backstock issues which I've been ignoring.  When you're dealing with frontstock all the time, backstock takes a back seat...

I feel like I'm engaging in some of the details that --while not terribly important -- can add up over time.


In two more weeks I'll be able to do a full restock, from top to bottom, without breaking my budget.

This is the best job I've ever done in inventory management, and the fact that I've managed to do it by not being there everyday is sort of interesting to me.

The danger probably wasn't that I'd order too little, but that I'd order too much.

Really, though, it isn't a matter of too much or two little little, but of carrying the "right" things.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Thursday thuds.

How many times am I going to say "Wow!!" today?

Not only do I have lights where I didn't have them for months, but the new lights are twice as bright.

I'm going to call the landlord and say, "Do the rest!"

Only problem?  I'll have to dust more often...


Went for my annual check-up, which I don't really need or want except that they won't renew my lipitor without a blood test.  He casually mentions a booster for tetanus and chickenpox, and I say, "sure."

Takes all of five minutes, done by the nurse.  Whole appointment takes about half an hour.

Today I get a bill for 430.00.

I didn't ask to be injected with gold.  Just a freakin' booster.


So I get the annual credit report.  The really free one not the one that says it's free.

Yeah, so I get a report, but I don't get my SCORE!

Since I have zero negative reports, I'll just assume it's good.


Are you in a create job or an entropy job?

Had to be at the store by 8:00 because I'm getting some ceiling light fixtures replaced.  This store space is so old that the lights are basically illegal now.  The whole set-up will eventually have to be swapped out, but for now we're replacing the dysfunctional ones.  Sometime soon, I'm going to try to get a carpet "restore" guy in and see what he can do about the carpet. 

Just fighting the entropy.

I had a thought this morning -- do you have a create job or and entropy job?  Not that there is anything wrong with the latter.   In fact, the latter is probably more important in some ways.  Fixing something can be more honorable than using up resources to make something new.

Which is part of our problem, I think.  When it's cheaper to buy something new than repair it.  Or worse, you can't repair it even if you want to.

Anyway, what I really wanted to talk about was how active the roads are 7:30 in the morning.

What the hell, people!  It's indecent!  More pedestrians and bikers than usual, too.  Wouldn't you know it that the "get-up-and-goers" are also "early-bird-catches-the-wormers."

Indecent, I tell you.  Should still be in bed, or sitting around drinking coffee and reading the paper.  Such industriousness is alarming.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

"Happiness outside of success or failure."

"You will do well to cultivate the resources in yourself that bring you happiness outside of success or failure."

Bill Watterson. (Creator of Calvin and Hobbes.)
I posted this on Facebook, but I wanted to talk more about this here.
It's clear that ebooks aren't going to do much for me.  Not a huge improvement over just writing a manuscript and sticking it in my cedar chest. 
So that's discouraging.  
Reading Bill Watterson's advice in his 1990 Commencement address to Kenyon College, was very inspiring.  It seemed to be directly answering my questions and my doubts.  
I'm still months away from having to decide what to do with all the material I've written.  While I enjoyed FREEDY FILKINS and I think it holds up, dammit, I know it was a bit of a one-time, one-kind thing.
DEATH OF AN IMMORTAL I also think holds up, and it was my stalking horse.  Trying to figure out the ins and outs of online publishing.  For instance, I've learned that the best way to go about it is  -- as usual -- the opposite of the way I actually went about it.
For example, if Amazon has an "exclusive" deal, and wants 90 days, but Smashwords doesn't, obviously the way to go about it is to give Amazon the rights first, THEN do Smashwords after the 90 days.  Then tell everyone about it.
Then it will be in both places, and using whatever resources are available.

I'm still focused on the writing.  I can always hope something will come along and present an opportunity.
Anyway, took the 3rd and 4th chapters LED TO THE SLAUGHTER to writer's group, and Gary sat down and read it and had some excellent suggestions.  They were the kind of improvements that I expect the whole book to gain more than once.  I'm really seeing this as a longer term project, doing it in distinct drafts and trying to get it right.
Everyonce in a while I get a distinct glimmer of this being a "good" book. 
It's funny.  On the outside, this would appear to be my most "pulpy" book yet,  but in execution, I think it's my most serious novel yet.
That other thing -- that "Will anyone ever read it or know?" -- that's just something I refuse to worry about right now.  (OK, so obviously I'm worried but I'm trying NOT to be..."
So just to repeat to myself: 
You will do well to cultivate the resources in yourself that bring you happiness outside of success or failure."

Bill Watterson

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Halfway through.

JOURNAL:  5/26/13.

I think maybe the biggest difference between the last time I was writing full time and now is that I'm being much more patient.

I understand that the book needs more work.  That while it may be fine, it isn't done until it's done.

I have the strangest feeling -- which I've had from the beginning -- that the story is better than my ability to tell it.

Which is kind of strange, since it's my story.  Kinda strange, because it's a werewolf story.  But it has a kind of unexpected depth to it.  A story of human endurance.

What I want to do is elevate the writing to where it needs to be.  More depth and verisimilitude, for one thing.  More emotion.  More visceral terror.  More everything.

But most of all, good writing.

I'll just have to go over it a bunch of times until I feel I've got it right.

I just have to try not to be lazy.  If I'm twice as lazy, then I have to take twice as long to get it right.

Really, as usual, it comes down to the idea that I think someone else could come along and improve it dramatically.  But you know what?  That hasn't ever happened.  Small, incremental improvements, yes.


Meanwhile, I'm still not sure that writing only 2000 words a day is necessarily an improvement.  I feel like I lose touch a little with the story by not pushing it harder.  So far, though, I think it's been an overall benefit.  Just not quite as much as I thought it would be.

I think that it makes each chapter a little more thought out, though not by much.  I feel a little less burned out and fresher each day.

The book should start getting easier now.  Action chapter building to a climax always seems like the easiest part to do.  Starting a book, for me, is the hardest.

I think having a story that is constrained by historical events is good for me, and has made it easier to get going and write the damn thing. I like trying to impose order on the chaos -- it's what gives me my plot. 

I think I'm more or less on track.  2000 words a day, and I have 32K words after nearly three working weeks (five days each).

About halfway through, I think.  My guess is that I'll probably add about 10% more trying to make it better, filling in, fleshing out, being historically accurate with telling details.

So size-wise, I'm looking at a real book.

Left to do.

I have one chapter with Reed, trying to get help.

A second chapter of him going off the the battle of Santa Clara.  Finally mounting a rescue mission.

I need to have three or four chapters of the "Forlorn Hope" (their all out effort to get help), fighting Werewolves.

Two or three chapters back at Truckee Lake, fighting the Werewolves.

A couple of chapters for the final rescue.

And the wrap-up.

I usually underestimate the required chapters by about a third.

So probably between 10 and 15 chapters left to do, which is exactly right. 

Just keep pushing on.

Monday, May 27, 2013

It's the process that makes a book good.

JOURNAL:  5/27/13.

I'm just not satisfied with the writing in Led to the Slaughter.  I'm pushing on at the 2000 words a day pace, but I'm just not feeling it.  The first chapter started with a bang -- but I've leveled off since then.

Then again, I don't feel the first chapter the same way I did at first.

I'm really going to need to make this better.  How?

Just grunt work, I think.

1.) Giving it time.  Gaining perspective.

2.) Working on the writing -- looking for better words.  Making it vivid -- like I attempted to do in the first chapter. 

3.) Working on the emotion, trying to find satisfying places.

4.) Doing research, adding details.

5.) Getting others to make critique and bouncing off that.

6.)  Going back again and again to the story to make it better.  There is no magic wand -- just work.
Basically I'm lazy and hate to bear down.  So if I only want to work half as hard, then I need to work twice as long.  I need to take each chapter individually and bear down at least once.

But I can't do this until I'm done with the first draft, though.  I need to do this in structured stages, based on what I know about my work habits.

Especially that last.  Thing is -- I've learned not to do that last bearing down until I've done the emotion part.  In other words, I need to go through and look for emotion and add emotion -- before I rework it so many times that I can no longer feel the emotion.

What I call the moment of writing singularity, where it has become almost completely intellectualized. 

I'm sort of putting down the basic plot right now -- the characters, the arc of the story, the scenes.  I'll have to go back later and attempt to put in depth. Depth comes from constantly rewriting.  For instance, Nearly Human is a much better book now, because layers got added through constant rewriting.

I went from macro- issues, like making the main character more sympathetic and trying to add tension, to micro-issues such as the actual word choice.

Still, I think I need to think about this book from the emotional standpoint from here on -- what emotion am I trying to evoke?  How do I get that emotion across?  Not being melodramatic, but making the scenario itself create the emotion.

It doesn't take Linda much to cry, and when I killed Bayliss I knew I failed because she didn't cry.  I obviously didn't do it right.

So it goes for much of the rest of the book.  The story has great potential, but it has to be fleshed out and deepened that that will require lots of thought and work.  I'm not going to the "I hate rewriting" refrain this time because I understand that rewriting will be the thing that makes this book good.

So not only is it going to take a couple of months to write this first draft -- versus the 20 or 30 days I've been doing lately, but I want to rewrite this book all the way through at least once before I let Lara see it.

So that will probably be another month or two.  Then the one or two months Lara will have it, then another month or two of rewriting, then a month or two of Lara having it, and then a month for the final rewrite.

On that scenario, it will take:  Between 8 and 12 months to get a finished copy.

I'll work on other things in-between.  I will rewrite Sometimes a Dragon when Lara gets it back to me.  I'll do another draft of Wolflander.   I might even give Nearly Human another run through.

I'm also thinking about 2 to 3 months before I'm completely finished, I might try sending the first three chapters to agents and see if I get any nibbles.

Or not.  That's in the future.  I'll know whether the book is getting done right.  Patience is realizing that the book isn't good until its finished, but not being good currently doesn't mean it won't be good when it's done.

 In fact, it's the process that will make it good.

Linda says:  No, no.  It's good.  Keep going....

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Central Oregon Business Index.

We had a couple of horrendously slow days in the week after PPP.  Don't get me wrong -- if I had a little red button with the nuclear option, I wouldn't push it.  The Pole, Peddle, Paddle, Puddle, Perpetual Motion event has become part of the Bend scene.  It gets a pass in my book, like the 4th of July parade and a few others.

Just pointing out that contrary to common opinion, these events do not spread their benefits evenly.  I'd say I got little or nothing out of it.

It ain't about you, I hear you say.  OK.  Right. Anyway, this Memorial weekend has helped make up for it. 

Speaking of events, there was an article in the Bulletin about Bend Film.  I've got to tell you, I barely noticed this event last year, in fact, I remembering wondering if it was even going to happen.  Very different from those first couple of years.  I'll always remember the inflatable screen that was almost wider than the street.  Because someone thought it would be a great idea to completely block off the street -- as well as place it in a notorious wind-tunnel.   (I noticed they replaced the canopies on the building across the street for the umpteenth time last week...)

It does feel as though the constant mindless boosterism of Bend has toned down overall. 

Which brings me to the quarterly University of Oregon Central Oregon Business Index which the Bulletin publishes.

I love that these are objective observable statistics that have a track record.

What the graphs appears to show is an increase in business, but it's not the steep bubble-like increase of 2003 to 2009.  It's more like what the graph might have looked like in those years without the bubble.  A more sustainable growth rate.

If you look at the graph for the state over all, there never was a bubble --

I'm amazed that as many houses are selling as are selling, though it doesn't look like the days on the market have declined much.

The biggest factor for good job growth, to me, are the building permits, which are still in the doldrums.  It appears to me that these houses must be selling to people who don't need jobs -- in other words, retired or wealthy folk.

So, more or less slight increases overall.

What shows the least downturn from the peak and the most recovery is the tourism gauges.

But that's what I've always thought about Bend.  We are a tourism and retirement economy, with all that implies, both good and bad.  Notoriously low paying jobs in service.  Restaurants continue to open and close.  Downtown continues to cycle through businesses, though the rate of failure seems to have slowed down.

Overall, considering the huge bubble we had -- I always say, Bend had a bubble within the housing bubble -- we weathered it better than we had any right to.

What I thought would happen was that tourism and retirement monies would bridge the gap, and I think that is exactly what happened.  The rest of Oregon saw a decline, but not a bubble pop, so they just kept coming to Bend for recreation.

So settle in for being a tourist destination.

P.S.  I may have spoken too soon about the mindless boosterism.  I just read the editorial in the Bulletin about the urban growth boundary.

Really?  That again?

Hey, tell you what.  Find a couple of more businesses for Juniper Ridge and I'll reconsider my position.  If you can't even do that, why bother?  Look again at those Building Permit statistics.

What are selling are existing houses, and I'm still firmly convinced that there is a huge shadow inventory in Bend -- and rising prices will unlock more houses.  We'll have a ready supply for years to come.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

They're hungry. They're cold. Have I mentioned they're hungry and cold?

I seem to have run out of steam on the story, which is unusual these days.  Didn't write at all yesterday, for the first time in a long time on a day off.  My son Todd was home so that was somewhat distracting, but not really an excuse.

Anyway, I'm finding it very hard to write the "Cold" and "Starving" chapters.

Hey, they're hungry.  Hey, they're cold.  Hey, have I mentioned theyre hungry and cold?

I thought I could just have a narrative, but it may be that I'll have to concoct some incidents and scenes.

Which points up the fact that this is the first book in a long time where I've allowed myself straight narrative, without detailing individual scenes every time.  There is something very liberating and hypnotic about a few pages of Then they did This -- Then they did That. Kind of a purposeful breaking of the rule, Show don't Tell.

Well, I have to whole day to myself, so I'm going to see if my sub-conscious can come up with anything.  Can't believe it's been letting me down for a few days...

Friday, May 24, 2013

Friday fuds.

Bob Dylan's birthday.  Spending the day listening to him as I write.  There are geniuses -- Mozart's, Beethoven's -- among us.  Amazing output.


Three out of four people who have read the first chapter don't like the insertion of the werewolf viewpoint at the end.  Only Linda likes it.  Thing is, I do the same kind of insertion throughout the book, so it establishes a pattern early.

Then again -- three out of four.


Heard one explanation for why there is a housing shortage and rising prices.  That people are so underwater they can't leave their houses, can't get enough money for the downpayment to the next house.

So bad news is good news, eh?


Gardening is suffering because of the writing.  I thought I could do both, but it's more like one or the other.


Meanwhile, Led to the Slaughter isn't just coming to me.  It's a struggle.  I have a good story here, I have the plot in mind, but my subconscious isn't producing without some nudging.

So I'm nudging.  I'm nudging.


My store is really worn around the edges.  Carpets, lights, beaten up fixtures, and so on.  Living with it, because I don't see how I do anything about it without spending a fortune, and losing money at the same time if I were to close for renovations.  So I concentrate on squaring away and cleaning what I have, as much as possible.

Most people don't care, and the inventory is so overwhelming it sort of disguises it.  I'm not expected to be pristine, but funky.


Even if I was inclined to take on the hard work and risk of doing a new bookstore, there is one overwhelming reason not to do it.   I couldn't sell it at the end of the project.  Without that possibility, it's just a sinkhole.

If I was ten years younger, I'd gamble the cycle will come around again and bookstores would be desired.

If I had the room, I could carry twice as many book that I know could sell.  There are tons of standards, and I'm surprised existing bookstores don't concentrate on those more.


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Breaking even on the slow months is the same thing as making money.

So far, I've accomplished something rare at the store for this time of year.  I've managed not to fall into debt during the first half of the year.

Because of Bend's touristy nature, I make money four months out of the year, I lose money six months out of the year, and I break-even a couple months out of the year.   (Actually, this is new adjustment from the old formula of 4/4/4.)

I make good money on the good months, I usually only lose small amounts on the bad months, so they cancel each other out.

What I'm attempting to do this year is not lose money during any of the slow and/or break-even months. 

It's hard to keep up the level of inventory when I do this.  Things don't sell evenly, so spot shortages tend to develop, and I don't want that situation to continue for too long.  I don't want to disappoint customers too much.

So far, I've avoided most major shortages.  The cash flow seems to be covering the essentials.

Most of this is accomplished by not buying the "extra."   Another big part is not buying the "sale" product.  There is always sale product, some of it is very attractive, and it has nice profit margins.  But they aren't necessary.

It turns out so far that if I just order replacement copies on the good stuff, buy the new stuff as it comes out, and try the 'occasional' extra, that the store remains well-stocked and I don't lose money.

It's not as satisfying, but I'm figuring the extra profits should make up for that.  (It's fun to buy, you know.  Seeing new stuff all the time.)

But the extra profits will only happen if I can manage the other side the equation.  Not spending "extra" during the good months.  The temptation is nearly irresistable -- the money is flowing during the summer and Christmas, and I see product that is attractive, if unproven, and what the hell -- why not?

So -- I need to keep to the same formula as the slow months.  Reorder the good stuff, buy the new stuff as it comes out, and try the 'occasional' extra just to spice things up.

I've never managed to do this for a full year.  I almost always blow a fuse at some point.  I think this is the farthest I've gone in the year without breaking down.  The farther I go, the more encouraged I am to keep going.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Local Happenings?

So I think Buster is back saying I don't write about anything interesting anymore and don't talk about local happenings.

Problem is, I just don't have the fodder I used to have.  Bend Blogs is apparently extinct.  The Source has turned into a pretty useless rag since H. Bruce left, written by people who have lived here for five minutes.

The Bulletin can actually be impressively straightforward sometimes, but more often than not they don't delve into things too deeply.

What do I think?  I think the local economy -- and the national economy for that matter -- have been manipulated to large extent.  Thing is, it's working.  This is manipulation on a grand scale, lasting not weeks, or months, or years -- but decades.

And if it works, it works.  By the time the consequences of being manipulated might take effect, the situation has already changed, a new manipulation has set in, and it carries on.  Sure, someday it could collapse of its own weight, but we humans are pretty clever when it comes to survival.

For instance, I never thought downtown Bend would empty out.  I thought the momentum we had going for us would bridge us to the next upturn.  I think that is exactly what happened.

The housing market recovering, with houses actually going up in price.  Well, that's obviously bullshit but if it works it works.

I certainly have had enough instances in my own business of "fake it until you make it." 

It works. 

Bank of the Cascades is another example.  While not a big bank, I still think it was given more time and help and excuses than would be normal in other eras, but they probably have been able to right the ship.

I'm not even sure that's wrong, even if it offends my sensibilities.  

So I think we're back to the normal B.S. that has always existed and will always exist.

Even if it's fundamentally wrong, even if you believe in the long run there will be hell to pay, it's stupid to fight it. 

They've filled in the cracks with putty, put on a fresh new coat of paint, and while the underlying structure is weak it could be decades before anything happens.

By then, who knows what the situation will be?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

How do you portray nothing happening?

JOURNAL: 5/20/13.

Trying a couple of tricky narrative tricks.  Don't know if they are going to work.

I'm just trying to get the basic plot down.  I'm going to need to go back later and add depth.

Soon I'll be facing the cold and hunger chapters.

How do you portray long periods of time where nothing happens?  How do you portray not eating and not moving without being boring?  That will be a challenge.

Once they try to escape, and once the werewolves start striking, then everything will be easier.

So I've got to figure out a trick.

Wrote the second Stanton chapter.  It was a struggle.  I finally added a werewolf element to the chapter, and that gave me enough wordage.

I've got one more set-up chapter, which will get us halfway through the book.

Then the cold, starving chapters at Truckee Lake.

Not sure how I'm going to do those.  I feel like I need a couple of chapters of that without the werewolves.  Maybe have the werewolf enter the second chapter.

How do portray hunger?   How do you portray nothing happening but hunger and cold?

Then go to Stanton and Reed, and the beginning of the rescue.

Then the action scenes to fill out the rest of the book.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Writing and selling a book are two different things.

Something else I've been meaning to say.

Writing a book and selling a book are two completely different things.

That's all there is to it.

God bless those who can do both, but being able to do one doesn't mean you can do the other.

I've been struggling with the dichotomy for two years now.  Trying to find a way around it.  Looking for loopholes.

There aren't any.  They are two different processes.  Period.

I'm interested in doing the one, but not only not interested in doing the other but actively repelled by the process.

When I used to work for other people, I was always the guy who did the work without fanfare and got no credit.  Which is why I'm self-employed.  My work speaks for itself.

It almost doesn't matter how good my writing is.  I'd like to believe that a quality book would be rewarded, but there is too much evidence out there that that is a rare and lucky occurrence.

There are just as many examples, if not more, of inferior books garnering tons of attention.

But the truth is, I don't know how good my books are.  The point I'm trying to make is, it doesn't matter.  They are as good or bad as they are.

Which has nothing to do with with the process of selling them.  Obviously, it helps if you've written something really good.  But you still have to engage in the process of selling, and that is a different skill.

Good writer/bad promoter.
Bad writer/good promoter.
Bad writer/bad promoter.
Good writer/good promoter.

Any and all these possibilities exist, but in every case they are separate events.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The books exist. Little alternate universes.

I read the latest chapter of Led to the Slaughter to Linda and she grinned and said, "Yeah, you've got a real book there."

Which got me to thinking.  What is a 'real' book?

Very often I don't feel a though I'm creating a story so much as uncovering a story.  It's as if they exist in their own right -- that they have their own existence and reality, apart from whether anyone ever reads them.  As though the Universe has recognized their reality.

As if, in some alternate universe, this story exists.

I have a fully complete book that no one has read.  Linda heard the first 15% or so, but no one has read or heard any of the rest of it.  (Wolflander.)  It exists on my computer -- the characters are doing their thing, feeling their feelings, events happen.  But without anyone reading it.  I finished the book and immediately took the Donner Party werewolf chapters out (without affecting the book, really) and started writing on those instead.

I also have a Sometimes a Dragon version that no one has read; and the last version of Nearly Human, only one or two people have read.

All just stored in digital bits, ready to spring alive.

But they are alive, inside their little bubble of reality.  I have to believe they exist, because they were written (created or discovered.)  Whether or not anyone ever reads them.

Feeling this way, the online option seems like a good one.  I put out these little alternate versions of reality and they float in their little cocoon, waiting to be discovered.

But they already exist whether or not they are ever discovered.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Struggling with it.

I really struggled with writing yesterday -- the way it's supposed to be, eh?  I made my quota of words, but I wasn't satisfied with them.  This book is going to require a lot of rewriting to make it good.

It can be hard to get my head in the story after a few days away working at the store.  But I know the break is probably good for me.

As I mentioned on my blog, it goes to show how socialized I've become that I even notice how lonely writing is. 

It also probably shows that my expectations have been raised that I even consider the possibility of people actually reading me.  I think I used to daydream a lot about being published, but also figured it wouldn't happen.  Now I think I daydream a little less, but know that this writing will be put out there, one way or another.

Not sure which is better.

I can't help but talk about writing at the store and I'm afraid I'm becoming obnoxious about it.  Or talk too much about it here.  But whenever I think maybe I shouldn't talk about it so much, I realize that the feedback I'm getting this way may be the only feedback I'll ever get.  And little pats on the back can carry me a long ways.

Anyway -- I always have trouble when I try to overlay or integrate new material with old material.  I think I might be better off just starting from scratch, but it's hard when some of the old material is good.

The solution -- counter-intuitively -- isn't to integrate the new material into the old, but to write the new material as if the old material doesn't exist and then try to incorporate the old material into the framework.  

I'm recognizing that this is a book that will require a lot of rewriting.  As I've mentioned before, I write two kinds of books: ones that come easy and ones that come hard.  This is one that will come hard, I can already see.

I'd kind of sworn that I wouldn't do the latter type anymore, but I like this idea so much that I'm going to finish it. 

Probably won't hurt me to slow down and fight with a book for awhile.

Friday, May 17, 2013

The stock market, because what else can I do?

First let me say -- We're a nation of ninnies.

Most of what I hear of politics these days seems like inane nattering.  We have real problems we're not even addressing, and we're wasting out time on stupid stuff.

We've obviously gone off the rails.  It ain't the liberals -- it's the conservatives who have brought this about. 

They're delusional.

Anyway, I wanted to talk about the stock market.  So ... the last two booms, I wasn't there.  No money at all.  I put what little I had in an IRA in the stock market at its lowest month of the crash -- so I'll always sort of pat myself on the back about that.  But it was probably just coincidence.

Anyway,  I've been trying to keep up with economic news reports for a long time now, and I've decided that I can always find very bearish reports, and sometimes find some bullish reports, and everything between.

So, taking that all into account -- by tossing them in the rubbish bin -- I'm trying to look at the bigger picture.

What I remember about the last two bubbles was being completely aware at the time that they were bubbles.  Long before they burst.  I couldn't understand, for instance, how a company selling widgets on NASDAQ could be worth five times more by making the same widgets.

Every time I've ever had the reaction of:  That makes no sense!  ----  It has turned out to make no sense.

I'm on record on this blog for fearing a housing bubble -- it's the reason I started this blog in late 2006 in the first place, after participating in discussions on other local blogs for months before that, and being concerned for several years before that.

As I always say, I've seen bubbles -- pogs, beanie babies, sports cards, Pokemon.  They have certain indicators.

I see nothing like those two situations in the current market.  I see tons of dangers and negative signs, but they are the usual bearish things that one can always find.

So while there are plenty of negative things to look for, overall I don't see the massive destructive bubble that I saw the last two times.

We've kept our money in the stock market this whole time, and it seems to have worked pretty well.  Even a massive correction would only take us back where we started. 

Besides, what else am I going to do?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The structure of a novel can be the hardest thing to figure out.

I wanted to get to the "meat" of the story as quickly as possible.

Problem is, most of what made the Donner Party the Donner Party was the Hasting Cutoff, which was a "shortcut" through Utah and Nevada, going over the Wasatch Mountains and then down into the Great Salt Lake.

It was a disaster.  They fell far behind, lost much of their cattle and supplies.  By the time they reached the Sierra Nevada's they were already in trouble.

So I do want to detail some of the ordeal they went through.  It's also my chance to develop some of the characters before the desperation sets in.

So, I'm thinking I'll need to spend about the first third of the book developing this.

The solution, to some extent, is to have some action backed flashforward chapters, which I do in the first chapter.

This becomes a problem because the flashforward viewpoint character of that first chapter is out of danger after that some time.

I have another flashforward character I can use, but I'm afraid it might be confusing.

The structure of a novel can be about the hardest thing to figure out.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The loneliest thing.

Writing is the loneliest thing there is, I think.

No one's making me do it.  No one is insisting.  No one is even requesting.

I spend hours alone in a room, making stuff up that no one will read.

It is completely self-directed; I write as few or as many words as I want.  As I struggle with a book, I realize if I abandoned it no one would know or care.  It would remain forever orphaned forever unfinished.  A still birth. 

Unlike other activities, say like music or art or gardening or....any number of activities, writing takes the active participation of another.  Art and music, for instance, can be taken passively by the recipient.  I mean, all artistic activities are lonely, I suppose.  But you can get a sense of a painting or a piece of music in a few moments, but to get a full novel you have to read a full novel.

Quality control is up to me -- to some extent, beyond natural ability.  How much work and effort and time is up to me.  But mostly, and this sounds harsh -- no one really cares.  In the end I do it because I want to do it. 

But sitting there at the keyboard, it's all me, all the time.

Rereading the above.  Poor boy....

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Getting to the "meat" of the story, yuck, yuck.

I already had most of the contents of the fifth and sixth chapters written.  Originally, they were to be the 'flashback' chapters in Wolflander, but I loved the idea so much that I extracted them and encased them in a whole new story.

I'm about 12,000 words in, and getting very close to the desperate times.  It will be cold and hunger -- and werewolves -- from here on.

I'll have a few chapters with James Reed in California trying to raise support for a rescue mission.  Appealing to John C. Fremont, taking part in the Battle of Santa Clara (all true.)

Also have a viewpoint character in Charles Stanton, who also made it over the mountains but bravely went back.

But mostly:  Cold.  Hunger.  Werewolves.

Rolling right along.

Looks like a disrupted day.

Going to an appointment in the morning, then maybe to a movie.

So I'm going to find out if I can write at the end of a busy day or not.


Got a little writing in before we left.

I'm not going to be able to stick to the historical facts and timeline completely.  Even in the first chapter, I have James Reed's escape over the mountain happening after the werewolves have already started feeding, whereas in real life it would have had to happen before.

I'll try to stick to the timeline as often as possible, but I think the story comes first.

Fortunately, I'm getting many of my ideas for the plot from the original events -- so much of it will parallel what really happened.  It's just the the arc of events was very drawn out and confusing and duplicating and anti-climactic, that I've got to impose more of a story over that.


Went to see Iron Man.  Fun movie, but I keep thinking these movies would be better with less.  They are so overthetop action that it's hard to enjoy them completely.


Came home and wrote the rest of the fourth chapter, so that was something to learn -- that I can have a semi-busy day and still get my chapter done.  Next experiment, to see if I can do some writing tomorrow night after working at the store.  I haven't really tried that since I came back to writing, but I've got a good head of steam worked up and I'd like to see if anything comes.


One of my three viewpoint characters (not counting the werewolves) is a 13 year old girl and I'm wondering how I dare to try write that. doesn't seem that hard.  I remember being a naive 13 year old boy and it seems like if I reverse that, and use a little imagination, it can get done.

It's almost harder to write the father, James Reed, who is what I call an "adult".  Serious and authoritative and domineering.  Never been that.

The third character, Stanton, is more of a stand-in for me, I think.  A businessman and outsider.

Another couple of chapters of foreboding and impending disaster, and then the rest of the book should be mostly action, which always seems easier to write.  I do want to create an icky atmosphere of dread and doom, much like the feeling I got reading ALIVE or other books about cannibalism.  So there may be a bit more narrative of them getting hungrier and more irrational and frightened.

But I want to set the werewolves into action as soon as possible.

The whole idea is to make this straightforward and fast and hopefully not boring at any point.  These lead up chapters I'm writing now are the most in danger of not being sufficiently engaging, but I'm hoping I can create a sense of suspense because the reader knows what's coming.

Monday, May 13, 2013

As it happened, with a twist.

Finished the third chapter of Led to the Slaughter:  The Donner Party Werewolves.

I'm restricting myself to one chapter per day -- trying hard to keep the whole process fresh.  Interestingly, the chapters are coming in at 2000 words each, which is at least 25% larger than most of my chapters in my other books.  So apparently, my subconscious refuses to write less than that.

I'm trying to be historically accurate in the large, but making it up in the small.  Making up many of the names of secondary characters, and descriptions of known characters and so on.  I may go back later and try to give my characters real names, but for me it's story first, accuracy later.

My compromise is that I'm trying not to contradict any of the known facts.  I don't think I'll be able to get through the whole story that way, but as much as possible, I want to stick to what is known, embellished by fiction.

I have as my main two protagonist, the father and daughter of James and Virginia Reed, who are to me the most interesting characters in the real story.

But these two characters aren't going to be enough to carry all the viewpoints of the story.  The Donner Party disaster was very chaotic -- just like in any good horror film, they kept splitting up and feuding with each other.

There was a gentleman in the real party named Stanton that seemed to be in the middle of many of the events that the Reeds weren't, so I think I'm going to bring him in as a viewpoint character.  I'm not sure whether he'll end up being a major villain or a major good guy.  Maybe won't know until he reveals himself.  I think, though, he's going to have to be a good guy.

My goal is to weave a believable story with the available facts, without warping those facts too much.

For instance, if Stanton and Pike get lost, and Stanton wakes up to realize that Pike has changed somehow, and they barely survive to rejoin the main group.  Later Pike is shot, supposedly by accident.

Well then, in my story, Pike has been bitten and when he turns, someone shoots him.

That kind of thing, all through the story.

For maybe the first time, I'm feeling like plotting and outlining isn't a choice.  This story is so complicated and there are so many things going on and so many characters to keep track of, that even simplifying it I'm confused.

I'm going to have to try to be very clever.

As much as possible I'd like to stick to the known facts, and give them a little twist.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Abe makes an entrance.

I finished the second chapter of Led to the Slaughter.  Again, it came out much differently than I expected, but it came out.

It wasn't as action packed perhaps as the first chapter.  More of a set up chapter.  The Reed family decides to leave Springfield.  I was able to add one neat element.  Abe Lincoln as an influence.

Even better if I could actually get him into the chapter, somehow.  Maybe he pays a visit?


Yep, added him to the beginning of the chapter.  All historically valid.  How cool is that?

Abraham Lincoln around this time was offered the "secretary" position in the territory.  So I have him turning it down, and coming around to inform the Reeds of his decision, but how important he thinks Oregon is to the future of the country.  (Lincoln had lots of supporters in Oregon -- in 1849 he was offered the Governorship of the territory, but again turned it down.)

In August of 1846, Lincoln was elected to his one term in Congress, a couple of months before the Donner Party met its doom.  So it would be entirely possible that he visited the Reeds and informed them of his decision to run.

Both Reed and Lincoln fought in the Blackhawk war and lived in Springfield, so who knows?

Adding Lincoln to the chapter added 400 more words, which made the chapter longer than the first chapter, rather than smaller.  I'm trying for an average of 1500 words minimum per chapter, and about 30 chapters.

Making that a requirement forces me to flesh out things a bit more, I think.  I'm trying harder to put in descriptions and telling details.

Came back and added a couple of Lincoln anecdotes -- the story of him saving baby birds and his opinion of under dogs and how they often started all the "fuss."

It's actually difficult to restrain myself from writing more.  I'm done sooner than I expect, but I still think it's a good idea to let times lapse between new chapters.  Give myself a chance to recharge.  

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Led to the Slaughter: The Donner Party Werewolves.

Wrote the first chapter of my new book yesterday.

I thought it came out really well.  A writer friend read it and seemed think it was not only good but that it was really really good.  Sometimes these reactions are enough to keep me going.

I'm trying to write at a chapter per day pace -- which under most circumstances would be considered a damn fast pace, but it's much slower than the pace I've been writing at over the last few months.

I want to think and consider each chapter for a full day.

I'm considering two titles -- Led to the Slaughter:  The Donner Party Werewolves.   Or just straight The Donner Party Werewolves.

Linda likes the latter, everyone else I've talked to likes the former.  But I think Linda might be right.  I think we have to knock people on the head with the basic premise; subtlety isn't the order of the day when it comes to putting out a book.

Meanwhile, I have a strong feeling this book is over my abilities to write.  But what's the worse that can happen?  That I fail at a book that I might never have attempted to write?

So I'm going to give it my best.

Friday, May 10, 2013

No writing plan survives the first paragraph.

So I said yesterday I'd write the Donner Party Werewolf in a very plain, matter of fact way.

Instead, the first few pages have probably been some of the most ornate language I've ever used.  It might be over the top, it might be overwriting, but it's what is coming out and I'm going with it.

I have a sort of different plan with this book.  I'm not going to worry about length.  I'm going to wait until inspiration comes for every part of the book, make sure the words are coming out naturally and feel right.

It may be I'll get bogged down and have to rethink this plan, but for now I'm hoping I've got enough psychic energy invested in this story that it will come to me.

I felt an urgency to get started, and this is usually a good sign.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Donner Party Werewolf

The Donner Party Werewolf is just blooming in my mind.  I'm visualizing it like its a graphic novel.

I'm kind of eager to get started.

It may be a short book, which will be perfectly all right, I think.  If I get the story across.

I've written three chapters already, and have in find a new beginning and a way to continue the story from where I left off.

I'm going to try to write it in a very matter of fact way, without lots of melodrama.  Just describing what happens, told from the viewpoint of a father and a daughter. 

Have to work today, or I'd probably already be working on it.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Applying small business lessons to writing.

It's amazing how many of the lessons I've learned in my 33 years in business can be applied to writing.

For one thing, I'm usually planning for big changes at the store months and sometimes years in advance.  I slowly move that direction, get everything prepared ahead of time, and then when the time is right, I make the big move.  I have it all it all thought out -- what to carry, how to price it, where to place it.

Telling people ahead of time is useless.  Accomplishing it is the only thing that matters.

In fact, telling people in advance just dissipates the effect.  Promising at a certain date and then not delivering destroys your credibility.  Underpromise and overdeliver.

I'll usually test the waters a little, again without saying or promising anything.  So, to me, DEATH OF AN IMMORTAL is my test book -- making all my little mistakes with a single book.  (Timing and presentation -- it's been a learning experience...)

It's also true that most major changes I make seem to have little impact at first.  It takes a long time for people to notice and respond.  Often, regular or old customers never do notice.

Was talking to a friend who is a reader and he mentioned a couple of titles of books he was wanting to get.  He normally buys comics from me.

"I have both of those books in stock."

"I never think of your store for books..." he says.


What happens is that I move on -- I find new customers. 

My store has always been about content.  I don't spend a lot of time on promotions -- indeed, I often feel promotions are counter-productive.

Being at a location where people can walk in the door and then having the item they are looking for -- or an item they didn't even know they were looking for -- that's pretty much my business plan.  Planning with layout and selection is my marketing.  

Anyway, I'm going to apply these techniques to my writing and producing of books, and hope that I eventually get a similar response. 

But first I need to plan it all out in advance.  Have the product ready.  What to carry, how to price it, where to put it.

Have something worthwhile from the beginning.

Being told what to write again.

Dreamed of a clever beginning to the Donner Party Werewolf story; and a clever structure it impells.

So I guess my subconscious really wants to try to write this story.  No pressure.  Just going to dabble at it.

I think I'll be easy on myself and not try too hard to be historically accurate in every detail.  Just the general flow of the story. 

Reduces the size of WOLFLANDER a little, but I've got replacement flashback chapters already in mind.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Feeling liberated again.

Every time I get a rejection I go through a cycle of reactions.   I've only had three rejections so far, actually.   Which isn't very far along the road in the scheme of things, certainly not enough to draw any firm conclusions.

Nevertheless it is enough to start getting a sense of direction of how this process is likely to play out.  One was a form rejection from an agent, who read the first three chapters of The Reluctant Wizard -- which right off the bat feels to me like an insufficient measure.  The other two rejections were from the same small publisher, who both times was very complimentary and basically told me I was writing fantasy and he was publishing hardcore horror.

But even here, even with fairly quick reactions, it felt like my life was being put on hold.  It wasn't -- I was writing the whole time I was waiting, but it's there in the background, preying on my mind.  Part of me likes this feeling -- it's a daydreaming anticipation, and a little bit of dread at the same time.  But part of me feels totally at the mercy of other people, for what seem whimsical and capricious and arbitrary reasons. 

It also reminds me though of the huge waiting times in my previous career, the waiting for someone else to answer and then do anything about it or see the light of day or get paid.  It reminded me of the hot and cold reactions of my agent, depending on the hot and cold reactions of the publishers.  Which didn't give me any faith that my agent really liked my writing, only that she thought I might be a meal ticket.

And this was when I was getting published!

I feel like somehow the whole system is a roadblock.  Especially for someone as prolific as me.

When I started this new round of writing, I was being tentative.  I wasn't sure how serious I was.


Pretty obviously, I'm going to be doing this.  I like doing this writing thing.

So maybe it is time to invest in myself and not wait for permission from someone else.

Get a real professional website up, which centralizes everything.  Get covers done to all the books.  Print out physical copies of my books -- and not call it vanity publishing, but instead call it self-publishing.  I think the world has changed, and my exposure to self-publishing in comics, where it is common, has convinced me this is a viable option.

All this will cost money, actually.  But it will be an investment in my own belief in my own writing, and I don't have to wait for the go-ahead from anyone else.

So far, I've been willing to pay for writing trips, which are really vacations as well.  I've been willing to pay for some professional editing help.  I've bought one out of three covers I've finished, and photoshopped the other two.  Frankly, the photoshopped covers were pretty good.  I think I can come up with the design elements and get others to do them.

The website will cost.  And the self-published copies will cost.  Hopefully, I can recoup some of the cost through selling in my own store.  (Tricky, that.)

The point of all this, is that my feeling is -- I need to just go for it.  Forget the old system.  As long as I'm enticed by the old system, I'm going to be hogtied by it.  There is a feeling of liberation in doing it myself.  At my own pace.

Certainly not worry about money.  Just exposure.

Sure, I may not get anywhere.  Maybe it's impossible to break out on my own.  But I can at least set up all the circumstances that would make a break out possible, even if it doesn't happen.  Neither Freedy Filkins or Death of an Immortal have been selling great.  But...I feel like I've just started.

Besides, I'm starting to build up so much material, I think the old system would be years behind me, at this rate, and meanwhile I intend to keep writing.

I'm learning a little bit with each effort.  Maybe if I do this for awhile longer, I'll figure out an effective way to produce and promote and get people to read my books.

Either way, I won't be sending my books out into the void.  (Well, maybe a different kind of void.)  But it will be my choice, and not someone else's.

In short -- the ethos of doing it myself.  Everything -- writing, producing and selling.

By holding back, by looking for someone else to do it for me, I'm in some ways cheapening the process, and showing a certain lack of faith.

I came to this conclusion once before, and then doubted it.  But I think maybe this time I'm ready to go full speed ahead.

If the traditional publishing happens, let it be because they come to me!

Good news and bad news.

I finished the first draft of WOLFLANDER around 2:00 yesterday afternoon and it felt great.

Sometimes typing that last sentence, I get a small wave of euphoria.

Not twenty minutes later I got a rejection from the horror publisher I'd submitted to.  It was the nicest rejection I can imagine:

Hey Duncan - 

I've been reading Nearly Human and I keep coming to the same conclusion: I like you, I like your writing, I would love to work with you, but this is the wrong book for Books of the Dead. 

Sorry about that, man... but I think you'd be better off with a Fantasy Publisher. 

Talk soon.

So that's obviously a downer.  I had already suspected I didn't meet the editorial direction of this publisher.  The capitalized words "Fantasy Publisher" is a dead giveaway.  As I've mentioned, I know I'm writing dark fantasy more than out and out horror, but I was hoping he'd stretch the definition.
I was hoping he'd be impressed enough to give me specific recommendations, but oh, well.

I'll just keep on writing.

I was lucky that the rejection didn't come sooner.  I mean, I'm feeling down right now.  I can't help it.  I doubt I'll be able to write for awhile after this.  Like I said, disappointment just sort of sinks in and take possession for awhile.  No help for it.

I know intellectually what's happened, but emotionally I still take it hard.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Cobb and Company.

'Cobb and Company' is what I'm terming this series of books to myself.  Not sexy but accurate.

I'm just two chapters from the finish of WOLFLANDER, which I'll probably do today and tomorrow.  Then send the raw first draft to Lara and see what she says.  I'm thinking that any suggestions might be really useful this early in the process.  Whatever she might suggest, I'd consider.

She may throw up her hands in horror -- or she may find it easier than NEARLY HUMAN -- I can't tell.

Then I'll sit back and contemplate the next book, which I'm calling GHOSTLANDER.  I have the basic premise in mind.

I dreamed last night about a time-travel Cobb and Company book.  So there are no end of stories I can write with these characters.

WOODLANDER (bigfoot)

And so on.  Something like that.

I seem to have some sort of confidence cycle about my writing -- from being insanely confident to utterly un-confident.  I'm at the low ebb right now.  But strangely, it doesn't seem to keep me from writing.  Nor do I believe it changes the quality of the writing.

It doesn't matter.  I'm going to keep writing.  It's a moot point.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Doubts return.

Like clockwork, the doubts return.

I go through phases.  I get energized and positive and productive.

Then I have a fallow period, where I notice everyone elses success and compare it to my own struggles.

The answer I always come up with is that the book itself is all that matters.  The book itself exists outside of doubts and others and everything else. 

I'm only a few chapters from the end.  But I'm struggling with it.  Probably not a good time to be struggling.  Still, I had already mapped out the ending back when I was being positive so I'm following through.

I've mentioned before, I think my biggest challenge is rewriting.  That I need to do a whole lot of rewriting to make the book work.  That I just need to acknowledge that and get it done. 

Writing through the doubts is going to be an ongoing thing -- just as not getting too carried away by my enthusiasm is going to be an ongoing thing.

I've let the outside world creep into this process more than is healthy for me, so it's back to putting on blinders and forging ahead.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

FCBD: Free Comic Book Day.

Explains itself.  This is the 12th year we've done this.

It's a nationwide promotion, always on the first Saturday of May, where the publishers create comics just for this event and we retailers buy them at a minimal cost (ah, hem...which nevertheless adds up, so if you buy something while you're in the store that would be good -- but not required.)

After having massive leftovers the first nine years or so, we've been running out the last two years.  I'm still trying to gauge demand, so you might want to be early rather than late.

We're letting people take 3 comics this year. 

Have fun everyone!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Closing my eyes.

JOURNAL;  5/3/13.

My subconscious is hung up on this book being accepted.  While my conscious acknowledges and recognizes that the chances are slim to none.  So all I'm doing is setting up my emotional network for a huge letdown.  But it doesn't matter what I say to myself, I still do it.

I've even come up with an involved scenario where being rejected is good: it allows me to keep writing until I get better.  So I tell myself.

But of course, I want to be published.  And I suspect I don't have the patience or the willingness to turn down any possible step forward.

Because I know that's all it would be even in the unlikely event that it gets accepted.

I could think, no news is good news.  But the other side of that, of course, is no news it because they don't care.

And under that and more important than that, is that it really hasn't been much time.

I'm thinking I should probably quit checking email for the next five days.  Finish the book, then check.  If I'm finished, it would be pretty hard to take that back.

I'm giving myself till the 20th of the month to do rewrites.  I'll just dip in every night and do a few chapters, at random.  Draw out a timeline and try to fix that.  Just overall try to improve the book.  Giving it a couple of weeks of rewrites is more than I usually do, and even then -- I plan to do another rewrite or two after I get it back from Lara.

Patience and hardwork are going to get me there.  Good work habits.

Whatever imagination I have burnished by learned skills and practice.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Downtown Comings and Goings. 5/2/13.

Seems like lots of new places opening, but almost all of them had been announced previously.

Wild Rose is the only new business listed here.

New York City Subs has moved out of downtown.


Wild Rose, 5/2/13.
Bluebird Coffee Company, Franklin, 3/29/13.
Pure Kitchen, Franklin (Bond), 3/29/13
Jeff Murray Photography, Minnesota Ave., 3/29/13
Luvs Donuts, Minnesota Ave. 3/29/13
Hub Cyclery, Wall St. 3/29/13
Ju-bee-lee, Wall. St.  3/29/13.
Sweet Saigon, Wall St., 1/20/13.
Brickhouse, Oregon Ave., 1/20/13.
The Drake, Wall St. , 1/20/13
541 Threads, Minnesota Ave., 10/13/12.
O Mo Mo!  Bond Street, 10/3/12.
Crow's Feet Commons, Brooks Street, 9/21/12.
The Cozy Lamb, Minnesota Ave., 9/14/12.
Noi, Bond Street, 9/14/12.
Azillian Beads, Franklin Ave., 9/6/12.
Earth*Fire*Art, Oregon Av., 7/10/12.
Pastrami Deli, Franklin Av., 7/10/12.
Bend Your Imagination, Minnesota Av., 7/10/12.
Paul Scott Gallery), Brooks St., 7/10/12
Natural Edge Furniture, Bond St., 5/10/12
Hola!, Bond St., 3/3/12.
Amanda's, Franklin Ave., 2/24/12
Barrio, Minnesota Ave., 2/12/12.
Rescue Moderne, Harriman, 1/12/12.
Letzer's Deli, Franklin Ave. 2/12/12.
Navidi, Minnesota Ave., 2/9/12.
Mazza, Brooks St. , 2/9/12.
La Magie Bakery, Bond St., 1/6/12
Brother Jon's Ale House, Bond St., 12/10/11.
What Lola Wants, Wall St. , 12/2/11.
Jackalope Grill, 10/12/11.
Gypsy Soul, Wall St. 10/12/11.
Colour N' the City, Tin Pan Alley, 10/12/11.
Lotus Moon, Brooks St., 10/12/11.
The Lobby, Bond St. , 10/12/11.
Ruby, Minnesota Ave., 10, 12/11.
Kariella, Lava Road, 8/24, 11.
Plankers, Wall St., 7/11.
Faveur, Franklin, 7/11.
Dream Pebbles, Minnesota Ave., 6/15/11.
Bend Yogurt Factory, Franklin/Bond, 4/26/11.
High Desert Lotus, Bond St. , 4/4/11.
Tryst, Franklin Ave., 3/11/11. (Formerly Maryjanes, **Moved**).
D'Vine, Wall St. , 2/9/11.
Let it Ride!, Bond St., 1/29/11.
Gatsby's Brasserie Bar, Minnesota Ave., 1/8/11
Tres Jolie, Wall St., 12/20/10.
Caldera Grill, Bond St., 12/7/10
Bond Street Grill, 12/7/10.
Perspective(s), Minnesota Ave., 11/20/10
Toth Art Collective, Bond St. 11/20/10
Boken, Breezeway, 11/20/10
Dalia and Emilia, Wall St., 10/3/10.
Antiquarian Books, Bond St., 10/3/10.
Giddyup, Minnesota Ave., 10/3/10.
The Closet, Minnesota Ave., 8/11/10.
Showcase Hats, Oregon Ave., 8/11/10,
Red Chair Art Gallery, Oregon Ave. 7/13/10.
Earth Sense Herbs, Penny's Galleria, 7/12/10.
Mad Happy Lounge, Brooks St., 6/2910
Common Table, Oregon Ave. , 6/29/10.
Looney Bean Coffee, Brooks St. , 6/29/10.
Bourbon Street, Minnesota Ave., 6/22/10
Feather's Edge, Minnesota Ave., 6/22/10
The BLVD., Wall St. , 6/13/10.
Volt, Minnesota Ave. 6/1/10.
Tart, Minnesota Ave. , 5/13/10
Olivia Hunter, Wall St. 4/5/10.
Tres Chic, 4/5/10 (Moved to Minnesota Av.)
Blue Star Salon, Wall St. 4/1/10.
Lululemon, Bond St. 3/31/10.
Diana's Jewel Box, Minnesota Ave., 3/25/10.
Amalia's, Wall St. (Ciao Mambo space), 3/12/10
River Bend Fine Art, Bond St. (Kebanu space) 2/23/10
Federal Express, Oregon Ave. 2/1/10
***10 Below, Minnesota Ave. 1/10/10
Tew Boots Gallery, Bond St. 1/8/10.
Top Leaf Mate, 12/10/09
Laughing Girls Studio, Minnesota Ave. 12/7/09
Lemon Drop, 5 Minnesota Ave., 11/12/09
The Curiosity Shoppe, 25 N.W. Minnesota Ave, Suite #7. 11/5/09
Wabi Sabi 11/4/09 (**Moved, Wall St.**)
Frugal Boutique 11/4/09
5 Spice 10/22/09
Cowgirls Cash 10/17/09
***Haven Home 10/17/09
Dog Patch 10/17/09
The Good Drop 10/12/09
Lola's 9/23/09
**Volcano Wines 9/15/09
Singing Sparrow Flowers 8/16/09
Northwest Home Interiors 8/5/09
High Desert Frameworks 7/23/09 (*Moved to Oregon Ave. 4/5/10.)
Wall Street Gifts 7/--/09
Ina Louise 7/14/09
Bend Home Hardware (Homestyle Hardware?) 7/1/09
Altera Real Estate 6/9/09
Honey 6/7/09
Azura Studio 6/7/09
Mary Jane's 6/1/09
c.c.McKenzie 6/1/09
Velvet 5/28/09
Bella Moda 3/25/09
High Desert Gallery (Bend) 3/25/09
900 Wall
Great Outdoor Store
Luxe Home Interiors
Powell's Candy
Dudley's Used Books and Coffee
Game Domain
Subway Sandwiches
Bend Burger Company
Showcase Hats
Pita Pit
Happy Nails

(List begun, Fall, 2008.)


New York City Sub, Bond St. 3/29/13
Soba Asian Bistro, Bond St., 3/29/13
Volt Lighting, Wall St.  3/29/13.
Topolino, Wall Street, 1/20/13.
Cozy Lamb, Minnesota Ave., 1/20/13 (moved inside, Bond St.)
Amalia's, Wall Street, 1/5/13.
El Jimador, Wall Street, 9/1412.
The Closet, Minnesota Ave., 9/1/12
Common Table, Oregon Ave., 8/11/12.
Honey Threads, Minnesota Ave., 8/11/12.
Bella Moda, Wall St., 8/11/12.
Giddy Up, Minnesota Ave., 5/10/12
Pottery Lounge, Oregon Ave., 5/17/12.
Boondocks, Newport Ave., 3/27/12
Game Domain, Oregon Ave., 3/27/12.
Toth Gallery, Bond St., 3/27/12.
Letzer's Deli, Franklin Ave., 3/22/12.
Clutch, Minnesota Ave., 3/22/12. (Moving to Tres Jolie).
High Desert Gallery, Minnesota Ave., 3/22/12.
Tart, Bond St., 3/3/12.
El Caporal West, Franklin Ave., 2/24/12
Bo Restobar, Franklin Ave., 2/9/12.
The Lobby, Bond St. , 2/9/12.
Arts Central, Brooks St., 2/7/12.
Typhoon!, Bond St., 2/5/12.
Gatsby's, Minnesota Ave., 2/5/12
The Dog Patch, Minnesota Av. 1/9/12.
Bend Mapping, Bond St., 1/9/12.
Lotus Moon, Brooks St. 1/9/12 (Moving into Tres Jolie)
Bond Street Grill, Bond St., 11/20/12.
Mad Happy Lounge, Brooks St., 10/11.
Azu, Wall St., 10/25/11.
Showcase Hats, Oregon Av., 10/11.
Bourbon St., Minnesota Ave. 10/12/11.
Curiosity Shop, Minnesota Ave., 7/11
Luluemon, Bond St., 8/26, 11.
Shear Illusions, Franklin Ave., 7/11.
Crepe Place, Wall St., 7/11.
Pita Pit, Brooks St. , 6/28/11
Smith and Wade Salon, Minnesota, Av. , 6/3/11.
Perspectives, Minnesota Av., 6/1/11
River Bend Art Gallery, Bond St., 5/5/11.
Donner's Flowers, Wall St. 3/11/11. (**Moved out of downtown**)
Maryjanes, Wall St. , 3/11/11. (new name, Tryst, moved to Franklin.).
Di Lusso, Franklin/Bond, 2/9/11.
Earth Sense Herbs, Penny's Galleria, 1/2/11
Marz Bistro, Minnesota Av., 12/20/10.
The Decoy, Bond St., 12/7/10.
Giuseppe's, Bond St., 12/1/10.
Ina Louise, Minnesota Ave., 11/3/10.
Laughing Girl Studios, 10/21/10
Dolce Vita, Bond St, 10/21/10
Diana's Jewell Box, Minnesota Ave., 10/15/10.
Lola's, Breezeway, 10/8/10.
Oxygen Tattoo, Bond St., 10/3/10.
Great Outdoor Clothing, Wall St., 10/3/10.
Volcano Vineyards, Minnesota Ave., 10/3/10.
Subway Sandwiches, Bond St. 9/2/10.
Old Bend Distillery, Brooks St., 6/19/10.
Staccato, Minnesota Ave. 6/18/10.
Showcase Hats, Minnesota Ave., 6/1/10 (Moved to Oregon Ave., 8/10/11.)
Cork, Oregon Ave., 5/27/10.
Wall Street Gifts, 5/26/10
Microsphere, Wall St. , 5/17/10.
Singing Sparrow, Franklin and Bond, 5/15/10
28, Minnesota Ave. and Bond, 5/13/10.
Glass Symphony, Wall St., 3/25/10
Bend Home Hardware, Minnesota Ave, 2/25/10
Ciao Mambo, Wall St. 2/4/10
***Angel Kisses 1/25/10 (Have moved to 'Honey.')
Ivy Rose Manor 8/20/09
***Downtowner 8/18/09 (moving into the Summit location)
Chocolate e Gateaux 8/16/09
Finders Keepers 8/15/09
Colourstone 7/25/09
Periwinkle 6/--/09
***Tangerine 7/21/09 (Got word, they are moving across the street.)
Micheal Cassidy Gallery 6/15/09
St. Claire Coffee 6/15/09
Luxe Home Interiors 6/4/09
Treefort 5/8/09
Blue 5/2/09
***Volcano Tasting Room 4/28/09** Moved to Minnesota Ave.
Habit 4/16/09
Mountain Comfort 4/14/09
Tetherow Property 4/11/09
Blue Moon Marketplace 3/25/09
Plenty 3/25/09
Downtown Doggie 3/25/09
***King of Sole (became Mary Janes)**
Santee Alley
Bistro Corlise
Made in Hawaii
Stewart Weinmann (leather)
Kebanu Gallery
Pella Doors and Windows
Olive company
Pink Frog
Little Italy
***Pomegranate (downtown branch)**
Pronghorn Real Estate office.
Speedshop Deli
Paper Place
Bluefish Bistro

(List begun, Fall, 2008 )

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

After Wolflander -- Ghostlander?

Wrote the second Donner Party chapter.  The incidents just seemed to lend themselves to the rhythm of my chapters.  What I think may happen is that I'll continue to develop this so that it's a little mini-story inside the larger story.  I think up to 6 or 7 chapters.

I'm finding that story and plot are getting slightly easier, the writing itself slightly harder.  But the writing can be fixed, whereas the plot is much harder to change, so I'm OK with that.

Have to work at the store for a few days, then another writing session.  Plan to finish the main body of the first draft at the end of that week.  Then another week for the Flashback chapters, then another week for a rewrite, then hand it over to Lara and forget about it.

I'm intending to cycle my books from now on.  While one is being edited and letting itself fade a little so it stays fresh and I can come back to it with new perspective, I'll work on something else.  Then repeat the process.

 I'm thinking yet another Cobb book.  This one about ghosts.  I have a major character killed heroically in Wolflander, so I thought maybe I can bring her back as a ghost.  I especially like that with ghosts, anything I come up with is acceptable.  I can go anywhere I want with it. I can make up any thing I want and who's to vouchsafe it? (Always wanted to use that word...)

One of the first stories I remember Linda telling me when we met was about the Winchester house in California -- the heiress felt guilty about her father's inventing such a deadly rifle and a medium told her that as long as she kept building on the house that she wouldn't die.  So she built this mansion with staircases leading nowhere and rooms with not exits and so on.

So I'll just make of a fictional version of that house in Bend.  That's haunted.

My little team of characters is growing by about one character per book.  One of the surviving werewolves is going to be part of the team.  Cool.

I'm still focused on the writing -- and probably will be for another couple of years.  Marketing the book comes in as a distant second.

I think I'm getting better.  I think that as I get better, I can upgrade what I've already written.  I think that I want to put my strongest effort as my first effort and that I've probably not written my strongest effort yet.

So I think.