Step On It

Early this afternoon I received a phone call that my Mom was going in for foot surgery.  Sometime last week, she stepped on a sewing needle and it broke off in her foot.  As one might suspect, this is a unpleasant experience.

The response from her two youngest children has been predictable.

Matt – “I just hope she recovers and comes out a step ahead of everyone else.”

Jon – “I don’t see the point but if the surgery goes bad, she might have to sew.”


Done @ 10:45pm

The sixth draft of Genie Memories is complete as of about 10:45pm.

This is it.  I love this book but God/Agent/Editor willing, this is the final draft.  Short of glaring plot holes (of which I think I caught them all) and typos, I have nothing else to give to this story.

My brain is far too fried to do much other than give some statistics on the differences between drafts.  Aside from the sheer amount of words involved, it does kind of tell what writers go through when working on a novel.

1st Draft*: 40,965 words, 193 pages

2nd Draft: 63,242 words, 305 pages

3rd Draft: 59,883 words, 317 pages

4th Draft: 63,256 words, 340 pages

5th Draft: 66,600 words, 355 pages

6th Draft: 76,100 words, 396 pages

Tomorrow I start work on the next novel and submission materials for this one.   Now?  I sleep.

* Viable Paradise edition, incomplete

No Need for Rabbit’s Feet

Do I want trout? Catfish? Maybe some walleye ...

While on my run along the river this morning, I found myself accompanied by one of Decorah’s famous bald eagles.  The eagle stayed fairly close for almost a quarter of a mile, swooping down on the river to hunt for fish, before finally landing on the rocky shore and letting me get on with the rest of my workout.

When I got home and told Steph about it, I said that it was an omen – either I’d have a great day or I’d go bald.

Since then …

  • Training went spectacularly well.
  • A major technical thorn in my side was removed at work.
  • I received unexpected time to write this evening.
  • My issue of Locus magazine arrived.
  • Went out to dinner at Rubaiyat where one of the chefs brought us two free plates of their new, first night, phenomenaly delicious lamb chops made from lambs raised by my father-in-law.
  • I did not go bald.

Don’t know about you, but you can keep the lucky rabbit’s foot.

Mr. Fish says, "Look, if you're not using that rabbit's foot, could I have it?"
* Pictures from Raptor Resource Project


My First eBook

This past week marked my first ever Cover-to-Cover reading of an eBook.  Initial impressions are about as I expected plus one major thing that I didn’t really count on.

First off, the book I read – The Black God’s War by Moses Siregar – was a good book.  I enjoyed it so none of what follows should be considered a critique on the novel or the author.  They did their job.  This is about other things entirely.

Now onto the critique – I did my reading on my iPad2.  This worked out well enough.  Clear and crisp.  The problem was that it was yet another computer screen and after a full day of staring at monitors for the day job, the absolute last thing I wanted to do was pick up another screen for liesure reading.  More often than not, I found myself putting off reading because I didn’t want to go through that.

The Black God’s War was a fantasy book and like many in the genre, there is a map available at the front to help get your bearings.  In a digital format, there is no ‘front’ of the book.  I had to remember what page I was on, skim the pages back, look at the map, then go back to my previous spot.  Sure, I could have setup a book mark but why?  With a paperback, I could just stick my finger in place and I’d be done with it.

Along those lines, the ability of eReaders to quickly skim back and forth reduces the chance of stumbling across favorite scenes once more.  Think about it – when you had to go look at a the map or maybe remind yourself something that happened earlier, how often have you come across a favorite scene and re-read it again?  You get to relive all those emotions once again.  Now, the pages just go by.  Unseen and unread.  Quick skim seems to rob the reader of that pleasure.

Of all the differences between eReader and Physical Book, the one that I did not  expect was just how important the physical nature of the book was to the story.

When reading on the iPad, there’s a running page count along the bottom.  I can tell if I’m at page 301 out of 423 or 172 out of 300.  If I rotate the screen from portrait to landscape, those numbers change.  So there’s no realness to what they mean.  They are just numbers.

However when I’m reading a physical copy, I know that I’m halfway through or three quarters of the way or whatever.  Now, all of a sudden, that setback the protagonist just encountered?  That means something.  The end is rapidly approaching, how is he going to get out of it?  The tension builds.  Gotta keep turning those pages.  I never once, not even in the most climatic of scenes, got that feeling on the eReader.

Your mileage may vary but I suspect it will be a while before I pick up another eBook.

Capping Off Summer


Courtesy Jessica Babcock, SSE

Yes, President Obama visited Decorah on Monday and the town was all aflutter.  Actually, it was pretty cool.  I’ve been around for two Presidential Candidate visits (Obama in ’08, Kerry in ’04) but never a sitting President.  Steph and I weren’t able to get tickets to see him speak, but we did get to see him pass through town waving to everyone.  Very impressive and I’m glad to have seen him, even if it was only a glimpse.

As for the end of summer …

Starting, well, a couple of days ago, the easy part of Summer is officially over for me and my crew at the college.  The sports teams are pouring back onto campus and the faculty are finding their way back into their offices, both of which result in a much higher work load than we’ve had the past two months.

On top of that, this is the week I have to knock out all the material for our training week (held next week).  Why not do it sooner?  It’s not possible.  Summer for most educational IT departments is when the big projects are done.  Until many of those are in place, we just don’t know how to train our people.  So it’s a mad rush to get things done and it adds a lot of stress to an already stressful time of year.

Aside from work, there’s finishing the novel, book reviews, gardening, and a whole host of other things.  So the next few weeks will be a nice test of my sanity.

But hey … I’d say a Presidential visit is a nice way to cap off the summer.

24 Hours of Bachelorhood

As of Monday afternoon, Steph is gone on a week long business trip in Portland.  This has left me as a bachelor until her return on Saturday.  Past experiments in bachelorhood have proven rather … interesting, to say the least.

This time I’m determined to do better than that.   So what have I accomplished in these last 24 hours?

  • Did the dishes (twice)
  • Cooked a couple of healthy meals (Orzo and Black Beans, Homemade Pizza)
  • Made a list of vegetables to purchase at Wednesday’s Farmers Market
  • Did the laundry
  • Tended to the garden
  • Mowed the lawn
  • Groomed the dog and cat (the last was non-negotiable)
  • Took the car in for service because of a problem Steph identified

Hooo-boy.  Yeah, I’m sort of the Anti-Bachelor.