Aug 20     
          It's been over a month since I last updated my journal.  There are several reasons why I've been remiss.  I've been on vacation, and Pen kept me pretty busy for the first little while.  Also, Darkside was rejected by the Warner Aspect judges, which really threw me into a funk for a while.  Okay, so there's only two reasons why I haven't updated my journal.  Anyway, with support from my fellow Sock Monkeys, friends, family, and a couple of published writers, I'm feeling much better now.  I'm still a little depressed about not being able to make Chicon, but I'll get over it.  
          I've been working on Darkside ll when I get the chance, but the writing seems to be dragging.  I'm lucky if I can manage 200-300 words a day.  I have to do much better than that.  During the novel dare, I easily wrote a thousand words a day.  I don't know what the problem is, but the Sock Monkeys are already planning another Novel Dare for October.  Hopefully that will help.  Maybe what I need to do is to start work on a totally unrelated book.  I have ideas for a couple, and it's possible that I just need a change of pace.  What do you think?  Vote now and avoid the rush. 

Aug 21 
          It's four-thirty in the morning here and I'm still up.  I'd planned on getting to bed early tonight, but I guess the sleep fairy is being stingy with her fairy dust.  Or is it the sand man with his sand?  Either way, it sounds messy.  No wonder they don't come around here often.  Pen probably kicked their asses.
          So what did I do on this monday of the last week of my holidays?  I got up, spent two hours in the gym, then another four hours refinishing our coffee table.  I managed to shove a splinter up under my thumb nail too.  I didn't even yell or curse or anything.  What's the point?  There's no one around to give me sympathy anyway.  While I'm slaving away on my holiday, my lovely wife is off at the spa for a couple of days.  I need a better union. 
          Steve N. got a rejection yesterday from the same agent I sent Darkside to.  Apparently the agent didn't think much of the humerous aspects of Steve's novel.  The only problem with that is that there aren't any humerous aspects to Steve's novel.  Steve has a theory that maybe the agent confused our books, and it's really Darkside that got rejected.  While it makes for a rather amusing ancedote, I sure hope to hell he's wrong.  I could really use the break.  Besides, you have no idea how many people are praying for Darkside.  I'd hate to be the one responsible for the lot of them losing their faith. 

Aug 22 
          I got the rejection letter from Joshua Bilmes today.  All in all, it was a rather nice rejection letter.  You know you've hit rock bottom when you find rejection letters encouraging.  As for all those people who were praying for me, (Chantel, this means you) don't stop.  I've made a list of a few more agents and will send queries out shortly.  At the very least, don't give up your faith, but you might want to try changing religions--something like shintoism or budhism would be nice.  Just stay away from the Hari Krishna's.  Bald women and religion are bad karma; just look what happened to Sinead O'conner. 

Aug 23 
          My son Ryan and I were at the local mall today, and couldn't help but notice all the cars with license plates from the U.S.  Not just cars from across the border either, but from Florida, and California.  (I was hoping to see one from Hawaii, but I think that's asking a bit much.)  I can't imagine why anyone from these states would travel all the way to Belleville, Ontario, Canada, just to go to the Quinte Mall, but then again, they were Americans.
          Anyway, if any of you Americans from Florida, California and heck, even Hawaii, are planning to visit the Quinte Mall anytime in the near future, maybe we can make a deal.  You can stay at our place if you let us stay at yours.  Call it a cultural exchange program.  I hear your malls are wonderful.

Aug 25 
          The top ten things you should not say in your query letter: 

          1.  The other inmates at the asylum think itís sureal. 
          2.  All tho inglish ainít not mie furst langwidge... 
          3.  This query letter has been tainted with a rare poison.  I will send you the antidote once you publish my novel.  P.S. Youíd better hurry. 
          4.  Have you ever wanted to take a machete to all those people whoíve pissed you off.  I know I have... 
          5.  If youíre having trouble with the big words, just email me and Iíll explain... 
          6.  Even though every one else and their dog has turned down my novel... 
          7.  Iím sorry this is written in crayon, but Iím not allowed sharp objects... 
          8.  I donít know why I bothered sending this to you.  You probably wonít like it anyway.  Even my mom thinks it sucks. 
          9.  I know you donít have the final say in what gets published, so be a good little assistant editor and send it along up the chain, will you? 
          10.  Someone told me the only way youíd publish my book is if I slept with you.  As Iím heterosexual, I hope you donít mind that I slept with your wife instead. 

Well, okay.  Maybe number three... 

P.S.  H A P P Y  B I R T H D A Y  R Y A N !!!

Aug 27 
          Not a bad weekend all in all.  I went to the movies friday night with a friend and saw the Art of War.  Not bad, but predictable.  I managed to get five query letters ready, and finished chapter two of Darkside ll.  Unfortunately, holidays are over.  It's back to work tomorrow.  At least I can print out the query letters on the laser printer at work.  (Hey, it's not crayon, but it still keeps me away from sharp objects.)  
          I was sitting down writing today when suddenly it occured to me:  Nothing hurts.  That may not sound like much to you, but when you work out constantly and do a lot of martial arts, there's always little twinges and pains and aches and...well, you get the point.  I guess the holidays were more productive than I thought.  Of course, I did gain five pounds.  Sigh. Back to the grind. 

Aug 29 
          Great news.  Charlie sold his short story "A Game of Chicken," to  The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, one of the holy trinity of SF and Fantasy Mags (rivalled only by Asimov's and Analog.)   Talk about your meat and potatoes sales--not like that mamby pamby poetry he's published before.  
          Me?  Jealous? Pshaw!  Well, okay.  Maybe just a little.  But there's nothing like the thought of a little competition to light a fire under me.  With that in mind, I sent out two queries to agents this week, and by Friday I should have three of my own short stories making the rounds.  Not only that, but  it inspired me to get back to work on a story I've had kicking around for ages.  I should have it ready to go by the end of the week too.  (It's only about 1500 words, the shortest short I've written so far.)  Sooner or later someone's bound suffer a lapse in judgement and publish something of mine too.  

Aug 30 
          Thereís a lot of people who believe that we are put on this earth because there is a lesson we must learn, and that things happen in our lives to aid us in learning this lesson.  What I want to know is this: What if weíre a quick study?  What happens if my whole reason for being is to learn that I must be more disciplined in my life, and I learn it by the time Iím twenty?  Is that it or do I have to wait around until everyone else is finished before I find out how I did?  I mean, maybe I could get a head start on the next life--sort of like Karmic homework.  Then again, maybe I was put here to learn patience.  If thatís the case, I hope they grade on a bell-curve.