Sunday, October 18, 2009

On the Horizon

This last week has been filled with ups and downs. On the up side, 30 Days, 30 Writes is coming soon. What is 30 Days, 30 Writes? Earlier in the year, Greta Igl challenged her writing buddies to a little adventure: based upon prompts, write a six-sentence story every day for thirty days. Including Greta, four of us took up that challenge; and in the process, we accomplished some amazing stories. I eventually fleshed out one of mine into a longer piece, “Pure White”, which found its way into the Flash Fiction 40 Anthology, promoted by Editor Unleashed and published by Smashwords Press. After our adventure came to a close, Greta suggested that we compile a collection of those stories into a Chapbook. This week has brought about the finishing round of edits and formatting. Within the next couple of weeks, we should have that collection available to anyone who wants it. Stay tuned for the details.

This week also saw the completion, and first submission, of a short story, and my fingers are now crossed as I wait for a response. Another short story almost made it the gate; however, like usual I'm still tinkering with the details, trying to make sure it's just right. My friends say I'm a perfectionist, and that pretty well sizes things up. Hopefully, though, I'll have that second story ready for submission this next week. My goal is to have at least two more stories submitted prior to November, and I'm on target to get that done.

On another good note, I finished reading one of the books I purchased in preparation for NaNoWriMo: Contrabando by Don Henry Ford, Jr. As the book opens, Ford takes you on a trip to Del Rio, where he learned his first hard lesson about the drug-smuggling business. Then, he takes you further back to his childhood to reveal a grandfather who shaped his love for the land—for farming and riding horses and the rodeo. He writes about his days in college, how he met his wife, as well as his attempts to farm cotton in the Pecos Valley, which ultimately left him bankrupt. As the saying goes, desperate times can lead to desperate measures, and Ford left Texas for a while, where he ran into his first acquaintances in the drug smuggling world, thus gaining a taste for the business and the lure of easy money.

Contrabando is an autobiography, though Ford admits to receiving some help from Charles Bowden in order to piece it all together; and by the end of it, you’ll be left with the feeling that Ford was lucky enough to write it. On more than one occasion, he could have lost his life. I read the hardback version, which was published by Cincos Puntos Press. Unfortunately there were occasional incidents of editing errors—sentences that were obviously re-written and then spliced together with the original text—however, considering Ford's background, as a reader you have to accept those errors as minor and keep reading to catch the story. I don’t know that Cincos Puntos Press has the editing budget of other, larger publishing houses, but the paperback version was picked up by Harper Paperbacks, and hopefully they had a chance to correct some of the errors.

On the down side for the week, I eagerly awaited the arrival of two more books, ordered in preparation for NaNoWriMo, and both of which I need to understand certain types of characters. Each day, the mail brought disappointment as the books never arrived. But there are still two weeks before November, which gives me plenty of time to think about my plot, my protagonist, and some of the people surrounding him.

Which brings me to the NaNoWriMo project and a progress report. Over the last few weeks, I’ve done a lot of thinking and road mapping for this story. I’ve ordered books and scratched out notes, and this week I also started a summary for the novel, a way of organizing my thoughts and channeling my efforts. Finally, based on a suggestion by writing buddy Linda Wastila, I have set aside the first week of November, taking annual leave, so I will have seven full days of writing time, which will hopefully give me a good jump start on the project.

Until next time…


  1. Well yay! On all counts. The 30 days, 30 writes project sounds super, and I'll be first in line for my autographed copy. Love to join you next year, but... April is NoPoWriMo for those of us writers who are genre-confused.

    May I adopt you? You LISTENED to me - unlike my kiddos! Looking forward to the NaNo ride... Peace, Linda

  2. genre-confused--too true my friends.

    i look forward to seeing the chap book.

    no wonder you have not posted so much...all is forgiven

    yes everyone!

    I'm tired and ready to go home

    word verification = units

  3. Linda: I'll try to coordinate with the other 30D30W folks to see if we can't get that done for you. Unfortunately, you can't adopt since my wife already has me house-broken and doesn't want to spend time training some other old dog.

    Paige: Thanks for stopping by, tired as you are. Now go on home, put your feet up, and get some well-deserved rest.

  4. You've been a busy boy. Tremendous work on the chapbook. I can't wait to hold a copy in my hands.

    If everyone listened to Linda we'd live in a much saner world. :-) Good luck with NaNo this year. Sounds like you are seriously gearing up for the campaign. I just don't have the energy to do it and am unendingly envious of those that do.



  5. Congrats on the chap book and I'm looking forward to joining you in NaNoWriMo.

  6. Looking forward to the chap book. Loved Greta's sample in yesterday's flash. You all rock.

    And you have really been busy. Wow. I'm still careening towards NaNo with no real plan and prep. I guess I'll officially start panicking next week.

  7. John, Laura, and Jon (not to be confused with the first one): Thanks for stopping by and for the words of encouragement. As November is only a few days away now, I certainly need it. Talk about intimidating! Still don't know if I can finish, at least in 30 days, but I'm going to give it my best effort.