Sunday, October 25, 2009

t - 7

In exactly one week I’ll be trying my hand (well, both for typing actually) at NaNoWriMo 2009. It will be my third attempt.

I did it two years ago and won. The second novel I’m working towards finishing for publication is the product of 2007. In 2008 many factors conspired against me and I wrote about 1,100 words and that was all - an utter failure.

Now it’s 2009 and I have my big Science Fiction novel all shined up and ready to crunch out in 1st draft. I’m hoping it will come in around 80,000 to 100,000 words and be a good length for general consumption.

My current novel, Typhoon Rising, (well, actually novelette), I’m working on now is only about 60,000 words - like “novels” of old (in the sixties) used to be, and loved, I may add. In today’s world, if you don’t hit 80,000 words minimum, almost nobody even wants to look at your manuscript, let alone publish it.

On the home front my daughter has had a running fever as high as 104.5 and only dropping to about 103 (despite the fever medications) for the past three days. I’m happy to report that this morning, after an actual sleep through the night without pumping her full of drugs, she is only sitting at a mild 102.

I’m pretty sure it’s not H1N1 since she has had only fever and nothing much else. Having a sick kid on your hands is stressful and tiring though, and this week’s writing has suffered for it.

However . . .

. . . this next week will see me finishing the last chapter of Typhoon Rising in second draft form, and writing a short horror story for our Halloween scary story night coming up this Friday.

Then, with a bunch of review on my next novel Saturday, and I will turning my brain and fingers over (starting early Sunday morning November 1st) to the process of writing an 80 to 100 thousand word first draft of my third novel; Terminal Radius.

I am hell bent to win NaNoWriMo 2009.

Wish me no cramps.

Until next Sunday . . .

Sunday, October 18, 2009

reno madness

No not some gambling addiction I've suddenly aquired - but rather a house renovation blitz I’ve been on for a week and a half.

This past while we’ve had the ducts cleaned out, an energy audit, a new water heater installed, a new furnace installed as well as a new programmable thermostat. Looks like I’ll be getting a fair chunk of bucks back in Government incentives and tax write-off incentives though so the pill may be jagged, but not quite as large and hard to swallow as I first thought.

I went out yesterday and bought some house sealing stuff: foam insulation, weatherstripping, r-5 insulation and the all mighty Duct Tape - how can you do any work around the house without it?

So, this week coming up will see me doing a lot of draft sealing before I get the auditor back to see if any improvements were made to these leaking places.

As for writing, I’ve been pretty distracted this past week (as noted by the activities listed above) and accomplished pretty much nil - not a good trend, and one I aim to throttle starting tomorrow, fresh and mostly house repair free except for some duct tape and weatherstrip maneuvers.

We still have to get somebody over to repair and seal our fireplace chimney, but that should do it for renovations for this year.

If we somehow uncover a pile of cash between now and March of 2011, we can replace some of our old downstairs windows and get 80 bucks back for each one. Not a bad deal me thinks.

Well, as the world turns, so does my stomach when there is nothing in it except coffee - so I’m off to the kitchen to make me some food.

Oh, and reading night (our monthly gathering of like minded crazy people) last night was good. I may not be Mr. Social, but it is good for me (so I’ve been told repeatedly) to get out and see other human beings at least a few times a year. Almost reached my quota then.

Until next Sunday . . .

Sunday, October 11, 2009

would that I could create time

Sounds like a great idea, but it’s beyond my powers to alter the universe just so I can get a few more hours inserted for my benefit into each day . . .

Anyhow, it’s Sunday (hey, I didn’t miss it this week) and I thought I would give an update about my James-Bond-like life . . .

. . . Ahem.

Seems our rat has managed to damage his hind foot somehow and is now limping around his cage. Not good. Must have had a bit too much to drink one night and fallen down one of the sets of stairs in his cage - I think he will be all right.

As for writing, I’ve had a heck of a time finishing off the novel’s second draft and it looks now, with more interruptions on the way this Canadian Thanksgiving weekend plus furnace work and energy audits next week, that I’ll have to shoot for November 1st as the cut-off to have it done. One whole month past my self-imposed deadline.

But, I have another novel (my third) all planned, and I am going to get it cranked out during this year’s NaNoWriMo. It will be a month of insane first-draft cramming - but it will give me another huge project to work on after my current novel is completed - my goal is to have one novel ready to circulate per year. I would like to use NaNoWriMo each year to get a first draft done leaving me the remaining 11 months of the year to rewrite it and get it publish worthy.

And that contest short story will have to wait until, well, another contest. I just can’t get my second draft of the current novel done, and a short story of merit, in 2 ½ weeks before NaNoWriMo.

Oh well, such is life.

By the end of next week we should have our new furnace installed too - just in time for the coming winter season. And it better damn well last 20 years, not 17 like the last one!

Oh, I should mention that I’ve passed the 40 novels-read-for-the-year mark this month already - which puts me way ahead of my pages/year read goal or 10,000, so that’s a plus.

Well, looks like stuff needs doing, so I’ll be scooting along then to get doing it.

Until next Sunday . . .

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

short story: Cat Noir

Yup, a special mid-week post! Saturday Scribes was a bit late in positing their prompts on the weekend, but they did and the short story that follows came from;

Theme: What goes bump in the night

Words: darkness, razor, wisps, slithery, circling, black, patter, drainpipes, dripping, prickle, tangled, buried

Cat Noir
by Paul Darcy

Oh, how I love the sound of nails on a chalkboard. For most it sends a prickle down the spine, but for me it’s like a beautiful symphony; relaxing, invigorating even. Besides, it’s how I sharpen my claws to a razor fine edge before the hunt, and this night is special; Halloween. It’s the one time a year when my powers reach their fullest potential, and he is truly within my grasp.

It has something to do with gravity waves emanating across the dimensions and fueling the demon within. But whatever the actual reason, I don’t look to deep for the answers. I do what I do for the fun of it and not to probe the mystery behind my dark powers.

The old abandoned school is my home. Let’s just say there are still children there who, on occasion, visited here against their will. But you won’t find them - well not all of them. Their memories are buried here as well, under the rubble where nobody dares look. And no one is foolish enough to venture here anymore, not even on a dare, since I took up residence. The locals know, and those that don’t add to my collection in the end. But they are inconsequential. My true goal it to have my way without interference, but that will only happen when he is torn down.

This year will be different.

This year, my nemesis is going to die.

The curtain of night veils the sky in black and I slip out through the crack by the gym next to the broken plastic drainpipes which never stop dripping no matter the weather. Like spilled ink traveling silently over a page, I glide across the overgrown schoolyard without a trace. The yard, once a playground for youth is nothing more than a tangled wasteland of thistles and scrub now, and I begin my search.

Every year it is the same. The smaller ones come out first in costume, mad patter of tiny feet to the doorsteps, while the big ones huddle in small groups on the sidewalks, talking and smoking and oblivious to the peril I could put them in. I do love crossing their paths, then watching the expressions on their faces afterwards. The little ones are especially tasty to me and I can’t help imagine sinking my claws into those cute cherub-like eyes, and tasting the juices within - but not this night. This night my energies are to be spent on but one purpose, and I sniff the air for clues.

Down by the water, I catch my first real hint of him. Stalking along the banks, quieter than death itself, I pass along the riverside and search for traces in the circling, slithery wisps of steam rising from the steady, slow moving waters. He is masked, but the night is young and I am patient.

The smell of smoke irritates my nose and I creep out of its way. Any other night and the offender would be floating down the lazy river, throat and eyes torn out. But tonight the lucky offender is spared my wrath.

Completely aware of him now, as he hides in the mist trying to wait out the night and escape me, I bide my time and gather my energies. A breeze wafts up and colder air blows in. My muscles are bunched up like coiled springs. He can not hide much longer. In fact, as I grow stronger I can see the traces of him, glowing a pale white like the pallid skin of dead children’s faces.

And as suddenly as lightening he appears behind his veil, and I attack. Faster than any eye can see I have him in my grip. But he is strong and the battle will not won easily. My claws rake his pale flesh and my teeth gouge deep furrows in his being, but he is so much bigger than I and the certainty of finishing him off is not as potent as it was in my mind earlier.

Through a second sense I can hear people running from the area trying to protect themselves from the collateral damage or our struggle. The sound is fury, and the powers unleashed by my demon are titanic. Several times I’m sure I could finish him off, only to find he has slipped my grasp and hidden again for a spell. My energies know no bounds this night, but despite my best efforts he has survived again as the sun begins to brighten the sky and sap my powers once more.

Back at the school I scratch the blackboards in rage. He has escaped me again, but there will be another match. Until next year then I’ll do what I do best and those unfortunate enough to encounter me will suffer.

Now I rest until the night arrives once more, and hunting time comes again.

Monday, October 05, 2009

is it monday already

Yup, you could say I blew it.

My weekly blog post for ‘Sunday’ is a day late . . .

No real excuse, except I was waiting for the Saturday Scribes writing prompt. Then I was going to slap up another flash fiction piece here for your amusement . . .

. . . alas, no prompt appeared, so you’ll get the standard post then - except it’s one day late.

So, what’s been going on?

Well, had the furnace guy over and it looks like between the government, and the company doing the selling, I’ll be getting about 1,400 back. But we need one of those energy audits, which costs like 350, and the another 150 when they return to see if you improved anything, so - doing the math - I will ultimately get about 900 bucks off of the total purchase.

I’m getting one of those high efficiency jobs with a variable speed DC motor (costs 1000 more, but we’ll be making it up with the rebates) to save on gas costs and electricity. Seems that overall we will be saving about 50 bucks a month with this fancy combo. Sounds good to me as saving is the buzzword these days around our house with our limited income.

On the writing front (that horrible trench warfare with plenty of gas and noise - hey, I write alone) I’m making steady, if slow, progress on completing my second draft of Typhoon Rising. Why the slowdown is because the last chapter spawned into two chapters and I’ve actually had to insert new sections and rearrange what was left. No easy task and what I raced through at the end is, well, not all that good. It’s more an outline than a 1st draft.

I did start another short story though, the one I want to have ready for the competition come Nov 1st. Not sure I’ll make it. You would be surprised how long it takes to polish a short story worthy of making the grade.

As for NaNoWriMo - I’m still on the fence with this one. I should do it, but I’m not sure I can fit it in. Leaning towards a yes to get my third novel in at least 1st draft phase. I’ll let you know if it happens.

And Fluffy the rat is doing very well these days. Whatever ailment he had is completely cured and he is his old begging-for-treats self.

Well, much writing to do plus all the other stuff that gets in the way.

Until next Sunday . . .