First off, I hope everyone had a great holiday season. I know I did. There's
nothing like a couple of weeks vacation to prove to me just how much I
detest actually having to work for a living. My son, Ryan, was here for
the holidays, and now that he's gone I almost have my computer cleaned
up and running the way I like it again. It was great seeing him--all of
him. He's 6'3" and over 200 lbs.
I spent most of the holidays reading David Gemmell's Drenai series--all
10 books. Now I feel refreshed and ready to write again.
Oh, yeah, and for those of you who want to know what my New Year's resolution
is, it's 1280 x 1024. I plan on experiencing the finer things in life this
Conga Rats to Tempest, for finishing her novel, and to whichever Sock Monkey
or Monkey Lint it was that sold their short story recently. Sorry, but
I don't seem to be able to keep up with you guys. :-)
Just for the record, I haven't sold anything, and nobody's asking to see
any of my stuff either. I still have a few things out, so the race is on
to see who will be the first rejection of the year. Of course, it could
turn out to be an acceptance, but if it does I'll owe that stoop-shouldered
old crone with the warts and an evil eye my third borne child. Ha! As if!
(Apparently old crones are more gulible than they once were--and work cheaper,
I've been pretty lazy lately, and not just in the writing department, but
in the physical fitness department. I've put on about ten pounds since
my last platoon graduated. That's the problem with being a recruit instructor
sans recruits. One day it's go go go, and then suddenly it's STOP, and
you just sit around at work all day surfing the net and drinking diet pepsi.
An extra ten pounds is no biggie--I'll lose that and more once my next
platoon starts up at the end of January, but still, I feel like crap.
And lets face it, I'm not getting any younger. And Mother Nature has a
wicked sense of humor. Time was all I had to do was think about doing push
ups and I'd drop ten pounds. But as you get older your metabolism slows
down, so you have to work harder to maintain weight, but it's harder to
work harder, because you're older. I vote we change her name from Mother
Nature to Wife Nature. Only a wife could be that nasty. Okay, maybe Ex-wife
I hate having to work for a living. Well, at the moment, I hate having
to show up for work for a living. It's not like I'm actually doing anything
right now, which makes it double-sucky. There's so many things I could
be doing--writing being the first that comes to mind. But I can't write
at the office. Mostly because there's too many other people here with nothing
to do and they keep interrupting me. At least I have Internet access, and
at worst I can research stuff for my novels or stories.
But basically I waste eight hours a day. Eight hours out of my life that
I'll never get back, that I could spend writing, or working out, or practicing
the guitar, or the drums, or teaching martial arts, or....um...shopping.
Well, maybe not shopping. What do you call it when you go out and look
at all the stuff you can't afford? Oh yeah, casing the joint.
I have friends I should be keeping in touch with, but I've been too Apathetic
lately. (And no, that's not a spelling error; it's pathetic with a capital
A.) It's funny, but when I go online my other writer friends never seem
to want to discuss writing with me. We just chat, which is nice, but I
feel like I'm being left out of the loop. Of course, it's not like they
actually need advice from someone who can't get published. That would be
like asking Celine Dion her advice on sumo wrestling.
This just in. The winner is: Black Gate, for their rejection of Harbinger.
Another one of those close-but-no-cigar rejections telling me how much
they liked the story, (A very solid story, fast paced and with a great
opening...) and inviting me to try again. Good thing I didn't pay the old
Crone in advance.
10 Jan - 550 Words
I finally got back into the gym today, and it wasn't too bad. I'm not up
to my usual He-Man self (old age), but I wasn't exactly Girly-Man either.
I ran the treadmill for a bit, but my right knee is bothering me (old age),
so I worked the elliptical trainer instead. A few more weeks of this and
I'll make sure that the Juan de Fuca Center has the best trained ellipses
bar non. Non that I'll get complacent or anything. The last thing I need
is to have some rouge ellipse drag me off stage by my head.
The writing is coming along. I've written for two days in a row now. Of
course I had to go back and re-read most of what I'd written earlier just
to refresh my memory (old age), but I think I'm on a roll now. Well, okay,
I'm on a drunken stumble. Hmm, maybe that's why my knee's been bothering
11 Jan - 700 Words
12 Jan - 800 Words
Another hard workout at the gym today. What ever happened to the concept
of muscle memory, because mine must of developed Alzheimer’s over the holidays.
And who’s the brainiac that decided we should work five days and
have only two off. After 2-3 hours at the gym, martial arts practice, time
spent writing, researching, playing the drums, re-teaching myself to play
the guitar, spending time with the wife, and what household chores I can’t
weasel out of, who has time to go to work? I can see it now: “Hello, Warrant?
Sorry, but I won’t be into work today. I can’t fit it into my schedule.”
15 Jan - 720 Words
I volunteered to assist the fitness staff while they gave the new recruits
their "Threshold Test" today. I helped out with the shuttle run, ensuring
the recruits actually made it across the line before the beep sounded.
I never realized how strenuous it is watching other people exercise. I
don't know how the fitness staff does it. One of the Master Seamen joked
that my efforts would be noted on my Div Notes (which is kind of a brag
sheet). I said, "All I did was watch them run," to which he replied, "Yeah,
but they were running right at you!"
Another rejection today, this one on my story Joy Ride. The assistant editor
had said they'd get back to me in about 8 weeks, so I queried after 10.
Two weeks later and with still no answer, I queried again today. The assistant
editor replied, and said that unfortunately the editor hadn't gotten around
to reading it yet. I had some hope for this one, because the assistant
editor had liked it, and told me so. But: "Sorry for delays in replying.
Thank you for the opportunity to read your story "Joy Ride." I will say
no thank you for this one. I hope you will consider submitting other stories
This seems to be a common occurrence with me. I make the first editorial
cut only to be shot down by the editor later. Hmm...What I have to do is
find a publisher that is manned solely by assistant editors.
I had this wicked headache last night, so Pen dredges up this roll-on stick
thingy from her purse and starts rubbing it on my forehead, temples, and
at the back of my neck. Not only does the stuff stink, but it burns too.
So now I have a headache, my head feels like it's on fire, and I
smell like peppermint to boot. To make matters worse, even though she denies
it I'm pretty sure she wrote LOSER on my forehead.
MCpl: "When I
was in thr Philipines I was awakened every morning by a guy who sold hot
baked bread fresh from the oven."
Me: "Yeah, cause
that bread fresh from the dishwasher sucks."
17 Jan - 600 Words
So I drove Pen to the airport this morning at 0500. Who the hell flies
anywhere at 0500? Pen, that's who. Those Air Canada pilots should stop
asking for more money, and start striking for better hours. Let's just
say that if I had to fly a plane at O-Dark-Thirty in the morning, it better
Anyway, Pen's gone until next Monday, so I'm hoping to get a lot of writing
and gym time in. The only thing stopping me is procrastination--and I do
mean pro. I gave up my amateur-crastination status ages ago.
And have you seen the commercial for the new Schick Quatro? Four blades--give
me a break. "The new Schick Quatro--because you'll buy anything." What's
next? "The new Schick Centurian. One hundred blades for the closest shave
you'll ever have."
18 Jan - 500 Words
Some people write to outlines. They know exactly where their story is going
from the get go. (Well, mostly where it's going. Okay, in the general direction.
Vaguely.) I let my characters tell their story. That's right, I'm an idiot.
Last night my character decided he needed a boat. A freak'n sloop to be
exact. I don't know a damn thing about boats. The word sloop came to me
out of the blue. I had to look it up just to be sure it actually was
boat. I mean, dang, I've been posted to a navy base for almost two years
and I've just now figured out which side is port and which is starboard.
(Email me privately if you want to know--just in case you're characters
are as masochistic as mine.) I'll get even yet, though. Maybe I'll give
him genital herpes or something. That'll learn 'em.
So I went to see The Return of the King again with a couple of guys from
work. There's nothing like watching big battle scenes with a bunch of military
guys dissecting the tactics. For example, why the hell didn't the city
use its ballista earlier? With their height advantage, they could have
pulverized the orc army and siege engines way before the enemy could range
And when they were defending the river, why did they wait until the orcs
had landed before commencing the attack? Why not pepper them with arrows
while they were still out in the water? And why on earth did they wait
for several orc units to pass by them before attacking and making their
presence known? Sure, it's a sound tactic if you outnumber the enemy a
gazillion to one--which they didn't. All they did was manage to surround
themselves. The orcs had to make their way ashore through narrow passages
where they could only come through three or four at a time--the perfect
place to set up a defence. Instead, the defenders waited until half of
the enemy force was through the gates, thereby effectively surrounding
themselves. With military strategy like that, it's no wonder they mourned
the loss of Borimir. I could nit pick all day, but what's the point. It
was still a wicked cool movie.
Just one other thing, though. Remember the scene at the end where the hobbits
bow, and Aragorn stops them and say, "My friends, you bow to no man," then
everyone bows to the hobbits? You just know there's someone way at the
back of the crowd going:
"Hey, what's going
on up there?"
"I don't know. Looks
like everyone's bowing."
"Oh, well, we'd better
get down, then."
And somewhere there's an eagle-eyed officer going:
man over there's not bowing. Take his name."
21 Jan - 350 Words
I finished the first day of my Suicide Awareness course today, and so far
I haven't had any thoughts of killing myself. I can't say the same for
my classmates, however. I'm sure several of them have had thoughts of killing
me. Actually, fantasies might be the more accurate term. More on this tomorrow,
if I survive.
22 Jan - 240 Words
I set the record for fastest successful suicide intervention today. The
scenario--there was this guy up on a telephone pole, with a hangman's noose.
It went something like this:
Me: "Hey, buddy, what're
Him: "I'm going to
Me: "Why would you
want to do that?"
Him: "Why not?"
Me: "It can't be that
Him: Oh yeah? I hate
my job here, and my career manager has told me there's no way I'm ever
going to get posted back to the east coast, so my wife left me and moved
Me: "Do you still love
Me: "Does she still
Him: "Well, yes."
Me: "So why don't you
quit the military and move back east with your wife?"
Him: "Because I like
Me: "Well, if you hate
your job here, and there's no way they'll post you back there, then I guess
you hate your job, don't you?"
Him: "Umm...yeah, I
Me: "So you might as
well quit and move back east with your wife."
Him: "Uh...okay. I
guess I'll come down now."
Total elapsed time:
24 Jan - 600 Words
Another rejection for Harbinger today, this one from Strange Horizons:
Dear Steve Perry,
Thank you for submitting "Harbinger" to Strange Horizons, but we've decided
not to accept it for publication. It's imaginative, and it's nice
to see a story rooted in a (more or less) East Asian mythos, and there
are a couple of good twists and some good character stuff; but I'm afraid
the martial arts sequences felt a little too flat to me, and the story
overall felt long.
But we appreciate your interest in our magazine.
Jed Hartman is telling me my martial arts sequences felt
flat. Maybe I should go down there and kick his ass and we'll see
how flat my martial arts sequences are. Of all the things said about that
story, that was the least likely I thought ever to come up. Now that's
25 Jan - 700 Words
Perhaps I judged Jed a little too harshly. I'm sure there are people out
there who think James Earl Jone's voice is a little too tinny, Marcel Marceau
too much of a chatterbox, and General Patton a big sissy. They think that
Michael Jackson is just a tad odd, Charles Manson has a bit of an anger
management problem, and Bill Gates is just well-off. Everyone is entitled
to their own opinion. Sure, they're wrong, but they're still entitled.
Woohoo! Pen's flying home tonight. I checked the status of her flight on
the Internet, and even though it only left the terminal six minutes late,
apparently it's going to be about 45 minutes behind schedule. They probably
got stuck flying behind another aircraft that's just barely doing the speed
limit, with another plane in the passing lane doing the exact same speed
as the aircraft beside it. I hate when that happens.
You know you're a writer when you see a sign for Mr. Coffee and it starts
you thinking. Why Mr. Coffee? Why not Mrs. Coffee? Or for a more commanding
cup of java, how about Master Coffee? No? Maybe something a little more
risqué; Madame Coffee? A sweet fresh aromatic brew; Missy Coffee.
Or something with a more oriental flavor...um...tea.
Anyway, Pen got home safe and sound last night. I love her dearly, and
of course I feel her presence in my life in myriad little ways. For instance,
while she was I way I'd get off work and come home. Now, I get off work,
drive downtown to buy her a caramel apple, stop off at the jewelry store
where she works to pick up the grocery list and some cash (What, you don't
think she trust me with money, do you?), pick up said groceries, stop at
the liquor store and pick up wine, and come home.
So I know I'm in love, because I'm still thrilled she's home. Busy, but
28 Jan - 750 Words
Someone once told me a true writer writes every day. How about most every
day. Okay, so maybe I'm a false writer. Yeah, that's it--I'm the Anti-writer.
That would make sense, cause I've certainly been anti-published lately.
Hmmm, I wonder: if you mixed a writer and an anti-writer, could you
create a warp drive? Okay, that's just silly. Possible, but silly.