2012 in Scribbles

2012 was a year that can only be classified as far flung, fun, frustrating, and fulfilling.  In the past twelve months, we’ve traveled to a foreign country, made the house our own, saw a promotion, almost saw publication, and ended it with a snazzy new means of getting around town.  The year had a lot of highs and more than its share of lows.  In the end though, it wasn’t that bad of a year.

Christmas and the New Years were spent at home.  Right about where we like it.

(Warning – this entry will be somewhat long and retrospective.  You have been dutifully warned.)

Continue reading “2012 in Scribbles”


Many years ago, my parents went out for ice cream and came back with a new car.  Since then, ‘Getting Ice Cream’ in my family meant someone was getting a car.

Today, Steph and I got some ice cream.

The 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid SEL.

We drove up to the dealership not really expecting to buy and ended up coming home with it.  Not too surprising.  The test drive went well and I’ve never heard anything bad about VWs, especially the Jetta line.  And that’s basically what this car is – a Jetta with a different engine package.

The picture above is exactly what we got – a Frost Silver SEL with Titan Black interior.  We sprung for a few extras such as a navigation system, upgraded stereo, sun roof, and heated seats (essential in cold winters, let me tell you) plus a few other goodies.   It handles like a dream and has great pick up and go.  The trunk is slightly smaller than a normal Jetta due to the battery but since the seats fold down, that’s not a big deal.  The reports I’ve read have said it’ll get up to 48 mpg.  Being as how it’s winter, I doubt we’ll get that as the gas engine is used for heat.

According to the dealer, we are the first people in western Wisconsin to own one.  Maybe the entire state.  We’re not sure of Iowa but considering they came out just this week, I wouldn’t be surprised.

This is our first car in over a decade. For the past 11 years, we’ve driven a ’02 Toyota Prius.  We were the third people in the state of Iowa to own one and at the time, we knew more about the vehicle than our salesman.  It’s served us faithfully and has just over 148,000 miles on it.  Unfortunately, time takes its toll and we started seeing the signs that its days were drawing to an end.

We’re still keeping the Prius.  It’s a great car for getting around town but the Jetta will take its place at the head of the pack when it comes to long distance travel.  Should be fun.  Or as the Germans would say, ‘Fahrvergnügen‘.

A Letter to My Wife, Re: News from Home

Dear Steph,

It’s been a little over 36 hours since you left on your business trip to Chicago and things back here at home have been a little … rough.

“Phil? Can you hear me, Phil? Oh god, he got Bob too?!”

Things were going well up to the point that Tim Tam realized you were gone.  I think this came to him when I was the one grooming him rather than you.  A little after that, he attempted to assassinate me.  He did this by darting out from behind the couch and tripping me.  I foiled his plan by leaping over him, unfortunately, I landed awkwardly and hurt my right shoulder.

I thought that would be it but the cat is persistent, if nothing else.  Once he discovered that I had been injured, he acted again.  However, this time he recruited others in his attempted coup d’état.  He sought support from some ‘Made Men’.

The ambush was sudden and almost effective but again, I thwarted it at the cost of some indigestion.  In an effort to dissuade any further attempts on my life, I made an example of his co-conspirators.

That’s the news from home.  Hope Chicago is nice, can’t wait to see you on Friday.



Broken Windows

“That’s a lovely computer you have there. Be a shame if something … happened to it.”

— Windows Update, December 12, 2012

In a sign that computers are growing self-aware, my machine decided to kill itself by downloading the latest updates for Windows Vista.  Those updates promptly trashed the system*.  The past two days have been spent backing up data, reinstalling, restoring, and fixing bugs.  By tonight I hope to actually be able to use the machine for something other than web browsing.

My best guess is that the computer has had its fill of 2012.  That makes two of us. I am very much looking forward to putting this year behind me.  It started off pretty good and there’s been some highlights but the last six months have been a serious drag.  On the plus side, things are starting to look up.

Work is progressing as it can and not only is there a light at the end of the tunnel but we can actually see the source.  That’s a major uptick.  It also helps that the semester has finally ended (last day of finals was Thursday).  This means we have a couple of weeks of relative calm.  I say relative because we are still open for business and have plenty of stuff to get done.

On the writing front, the query letter has gone out to my top four agents.  One rejection has already been received (I expected that) and once I manage to get Office reinstalled on the computer, I’ll send out queries to another agent or two.  Maybe I’ll even get a bit of writing done.

*knocks on wood*


* The updates problem is one that I’ve found information about back to 2007. I suspect I just got unlucky in this case and had a catastrophic failure.  It happens.

A Query About Queries

Someone asked me, “You’ve been working on that query letter for a long time.  Is it really that hard?”

Yes, yes it is.  The novel is 103,000 words.  The query letter is 173 words. Or put another way …


It took me six years to write Asymonte. That was the easy part.