Posts Tagged Lazarus Ale

State of the Writer: November 2011

After an interminable summer, October absolutely sped past.  Anticipation of Capclave and Flashathon likely spurred much of that.  Looking back, both feel like they were more than a few weeks ago.  Someone needs to harness time’s ability to speed past while being experienced but dilate when being remembered and turn that into a viable method of time travel.

October turned into a great month of micro-production.  The week of the 22-28th alone I wrote 15 bits of flash fiction, something I wasn’t entirely sure was possible.  At least four of those are stories that I can get longer, or at least better polished, pieces out of.  I call this an absolute victory.  I’ll probably take some time in November to sort them out, and give them a more prominent place within my flash fiction Scrivener database.

The month opened with me working on one novel project, ripping apart the tangled novels Capsule and Post Apocalypse, and ended with me ramping up another.  I talked about that yesterday in my Nanowrimo Eve post, so I’m not going to rehash that here.  I hadn’t thought about it while writing it, but that really ended up scooping a lot of my typical State of the Writer post.  Half an hour a day working with my wife on the project, probably another half hour translating that into Scrivener, and poking around the flash pieces I want to turn into short stories.  Sounds like pretty good goals for the month.

October also delivered to my email a proof version of one short story and an edited version of another.  So anthologies are moving full steam ahead.

I want to get meta for a moment and say I like these State of the Writer posts.  The same writers’ group discussion that gave rise to Friday’s post about mission statements as writers drove home the need to keep abreast of what you are doing, and what you want to do.  That’s what this series is about, a monthly chance to really look at what I did the month before, what I’m hoping to do next month, and what direction I’m moving with my writing.  They’re a way of keeping me focused, and they’re a way of keeping me honest, since I’m putting them out there for all to see.  Or all who care to see, at least.

So the state of the writer?  Anticipatory.  I’m getting back into novel production.  I’m starting a project I’ve been churning for several months.  And I’m seeing if I can work a novel and short stories at the same time.  Should be an interesting month.

State of the Writer’s Blog: Anyone who has been following these State of the Writer posts knows I’m trying to collect views from all 50 states.  The numbers are dwindling.  At the end of September, I only had North Dakota, Arkansas, and Delaware left to collect.  This month saw the first visit from Arkansas, leaving just two.  I’m hoping to wrap up all 50 by the end of the year.  That’s just one a month.  That’s not so hard, right?  October was also the 4th straight month of blog viewership growth, fueled largely by Flashathon.

State of the Writer’s Beer: Still working through a backlog of suds before I get the next batch going.  Might brew at some point this month.  Pulled out bottles of both batches for the Flashathon crowd.  Mustache Cat got generally positive reviews, Lazarus Ale was more of a specific taste.  Responses ranged from hatred to asking for seconds.

So join me as we move into another month.  Tomorrow, it’ll be another trip to A Writer Reviews focusing on, of all things, apples.  Bonus points to anyone who can guess which two television shows that’ll cover.

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State of the Writer: October 2011

Another month.  September absolutely sped by.  Here in the DC area it was a hell of a month with earthquakes and flooding, and on a personal end included getting a new sewer line finally installed at the Casa Del Thurston.

What it didn’t include much of was writing, unfortunately.  I’ve been working on a steampunk short story located on Venus that has a lot of promise, but needs better direction than it currently has.  In the end it’s one story that could be told in two different directions, which is interesting considering my upcoming project for October.

After the blog post I made a few days ago about my conjoined novel, I’ve been thinking more and more about the status of Capsule.  The final conclusion is that it is, and always has been, two novels.  The final straw was reading Kraken by China Mieville.  It’s a story that goes in a lot of different directions, but at its heart it remains a heist story.  Capsule?  It’s gone in not only different directions, but has transitioned from being one type of plot line (murder conspiracy) to another (cult kidnapping) with only the most tenuous of ties between the two.  It’s had this problem as long as I’ve been writing it.  On one hand, I wish I could have seen this sooner, on the other I’m glad I was able to see it at all.

So this month, the process of division starts.  I’ll track it in the blog, as I suspect it’ll make for an interesting case study.  Scrivener for Windows is going to be my tool of choice, identifying which pieces go in novel A (still called Capsule) and which go into novel B (working title: Post Apocalypse).  Really, the entirety of the process will be broken into three parts:

  1. Identifying the pieces that go in each novel.
  2. Identifying what needs to fill in the missing pieces from each half.
  3. Outlining.
  4. Writing.

In an ideal world I’d have one outlined enough to be a Nanowrimo project, but I highly doubt that’ll happen.

Two other big October features:

Capclave!  As I’ve attended other writers conventions, the local one here in DC still strikes me as my favorite and the best I’ve attended.  If you’re a genre fiction writer in the DC area and you haven’t been to Capclave…why the hell not?

Flashathon!  There are still some details to leak in the coming three weeks, and then the event itself three weeks from today.  October 22nd.  I’m hoping to get a nice turnout for the event here on the blog.  I’m hoping even more for some fantastic mental exercise and inspiration.

State of the Writer’s Blog

Blog viewership continues to grow, for which I am eternally grateful.  In the ongoing quest to reach eyeballs in all 50 states, I entered September needing six more states.  During the month, this blog got its first views from Montana, South Dakota, and Louisiana.  That leaves only North Dakota, Arkansas, and Delaware to go.  I’m not sure what the next goal is going to be after finally collecting all fifty, but I’ll figure that out when I get there.

State of the Writer’s Beer

No news.  Haven’t done any brewing or much drinking this month.  Means that bottles we have are that much better aged.  Been meaning to crack another bottle of Lazarus.

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State of the Writer: August 2011

July was a month of submission, waiting, and maintenance.  It wasn’t nearly as productive as June, but that’s to be expected.  June was about setting myself up in a position where I could have five submissions out, and July was the month they were out.  So far those submissions have resulted in a short listing, a rejection, and three I’m still waiting to hear back on.  The short list thrilled me, I thought it was probably the strongest of the five submissions, and the rejection didn’t surprise me, as it was the weakest.  I’m wrapping up a huge reedit of that story, and looking for another good market for it.

July also saw me put a few new projects together.  My wife and I are in the initial stages of noodling out what we’re hoping will end up as a trilogy of steampunk novels based in 1870s America.  In fact, my last writerly activity for the month of July, completed around 10:30 last night, was assembling an alternate map of the American south to use as the main setting for the first novel.  There’s a big unfamiliar state sitting in the middle of the south that I’m going to have to get used to staring at.  Step one is to stop thinking of the capital city as Huntsville, Alabama.

But that’s a future novel project.  July also ended with me getting slowly back into the right frame of mind for Capsule.  My optimistic goal is to finish the first draft of it in August.  My realistic goal is September.  Either way, it’s a story I’ve been talking about returning to almost since the day I stepped away from it, and with several short stories making the rounds, this feels like the right time to finally do so.  And I’m excited.  I remember the last scene, know the next scene, and have a clear path through to the end of Act Two in what should be a nice three act structure.

State of the Writer’s Beer:  Mustache Cat gets better and better with every bottle, but there’s a clear upper limit.  It’s crisp, a little more bitter than I’d like, but certainly drinkable with a nice strawberry finish.  And that’s really about as good as I expect it to get.  We have started sharing, so we’re about halfway through drinking the batch.  Tonight the first bottles of Lazarus Ale go into the fridge, so we’ll be drinking lemongrass ginger ale next weekend.  I’ll not be started a new batch until a significant amount of the current beer is gone.  Good target will be having enough empties to bottle the next batch without buying more.

State of the Writer’s Blog:  July saw this site have it’s biggest day, week, and month since relaunching.  I don’t normally talk about actually numbers, but I’ll pull back the curtain and show how low they are.  The big day was the 28th with 22 visits, the first time the blog has topped 20 visits in a single day.  That lead to the week of the 24-30 seeing 73 hits.  Month total just passed 200 for the first time.  Yeah, there are blogs out there where my monthly totals would be a lightly traveled day, but things are growing around here, which excites me.

My quest to collect visits from all 50 states has now reached 40, with first time visits from Wyoming, Nebraska, and Maine during the month of July.  That just leaves Alaska, Nevada, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Arkansas, Louisiana, Vermont, Rhode Island and Delaware to go.

Coming this week:  Speaking of best month ever, I made a promise in Twitter that I’d do a bonus Fortnightcap today if the site hit record monthly views.  I don’t think anyone actually saw that promise, but I’ll still follow through.  Also, look out tomorrow for the first details of the #flashathon that I will be hosting in conjunction with Unleaded Fuel for Writers in October.  Well, the first details other than “cohosted with Unleaded” and “October” that is.  It’s an event that I’m excited about.

Edit of the Writer:  Seems every time I do a State of the Writer, I end up doing an edit to it.  Just got in my email the cover for Steam Works.  Still needs all the text on it, so I’m probably not supposed to share it yet.  But there is a cover.  And the anthology is still happening.

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New Peculiar Bottle Day 2

Oh what difference the correct hardware makes!

When we bottled mustache cat, we were stuck with tubing that was too wide bore to fit on to either the auto siphon or the bottling wand, which meant a lot of flying by the seat of our pants.  Since then, I took a trip to Home Depot and found the right size tubing (yes, food grade tubing, it’s intended for ice makers).  And then…it’s like magic!  When you can get a vacuum seal everything works so much faster.

Oh, and when you remember to add your priming sugar and don’t have to empty all the bottles and starting over, it also works a hell of a lot better.

As for the beer itself?  Lazarus Ale is, to remind, a lemongrass ginger ale with a pound on honey thrown in to boot.  It smells strongly of ginger, which is not something that I’m used to beer smelling like.  I suspect it’ll be a fantastic beer to try the next time I do sushi.

I did take a sip of it, it’s just something that I do when I’m bottling a beer.  Yeah, the end product will never taste quite the same as that taste, but it can give an indication as to where the beer is heading.  The sip wasn’t very bitter at all.  The flavor…was interesting.  That’s the first word that both my wife and I used to describe it.  Interesting.  Which isn’t always the best of words.  But after that sip, after I thought about it, I wanted more.  I wanted a full bottle.

Patience.  August 1 is the earliest I’m going to put a bottle in the fridge.  I’ll have to bide my time with Mustache Cat until then.

So what’s next?  Well, there are two directions I’m thinking about going.  The first would be to attempt to recreate my greatest success from my Mr. Beer days, a boysenberry stout called Pie Stout.  But I’m also thinking about taking a break from beer and instead going for a hard cider.

On a side note, we got some wormwood today for the garden.  Wormwood is used for vermouth and absinthe, so I was curious if it was ever used for beer.  Well, I knew there were other ingredients used to bitter beer before hops became the primary go to.  Apparently wormwood was one of those.  Does that mean I’ll eventually brew with home grown wormwood?  Not necessarily.  But it’s tempting.

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State of the Writer: July 2011

I’m going to come right out and say it: the state of the writer is good.

On a writing front, I’ve got three stories out the door to anthologies and contests that had deadlines at the end of June, and plan two more submissions this coming week.  That will mark the first time I’ve ever had five stories out for consideration at once.  Hell, this marks the first time I’ve had three stories out for consideration at once.  Out the door already are Face of the Serpent, Beyond Light, and Vampires of Mars, and getting ready to head out the door are Sleep and Home Again.  I have high hopes that one of those will land in its current market, with a potential ceiling of three of them landing.

Yup, I’m getting all excited and optimistic, but I already wrote that post.

July is going to see a change of direction.  I’ve been working on short stories for awhile, and I’ve really enjoyed it.  But I’ve left Capsule languishing for far too long now, and it’s time to get back into it.  Especially since I’m already starting to world build my next novel, and I don’t want Capsule to get steamrolled and forgotten.  I like the story too much to let that happen.  So it’s going to be back to work on that, trying to keep a strong pace going.  Really, I’d love to have the first draft finished by no later than the end of August, and then it’ll be a process of figuring out what to do next.  That might be turning right around and editing Capsule, that might mean making another go at Conqueror Worm, or it might mean starting Nickajack.  Really, that’s going to be more a subject for September’s State of the Writer.  I hope.

It’s an exciting point in my push to be something more than just an amateur writer.  First short story is still due out soon-ish (though I’m honestly thinking July is unlikely, even if the anthology hasn’t officially said so), and so much more hopefully on the horizon.

State of the Writer’s Blog: June was a great month for readership.  I didn’t quite hit the record views of May, but I didn’t miss by much.  This was aided by the last day of June being the best single day for viewership since the relaunch of this blog back in December.  So yay!  Google Analytics also tells me that I collected my first views from six states this month: Hawaii, Idaho, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Ohio, and South Carolina.  That leaves 13 states that have never visited my blog: Alaska, Nevada, Montana, Wyoming, North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Delaware, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Maine.  I’m hoping to hit all 50 states before too much longer, so look for me to start pandering!  Woo!  Do you Dakotans know just how sexy and intelligent you are?

But seriously, I’m going to try to set my two July Fortnightcaps in states that have yet to show up, just to see if I can’t push viewership.

Update: Hello, Omaha!  That’s another state down.

State of the Writer’s Beer: We have now drunk 4 of the 24 bottles of Mustache Cat, and it’s getting better with each bottle.  A few more weeks, and I’ll be glad to share some.  The bitterness that it had when brand new is mellowing out nicely, and there’s a very strong strawberry aroma and aftertaste.  This weekend it’s going to be bottling time for Lazarus Ale, which I’m going to try and have the self discipline to not crack a bottle of until August.  Next batch is still being planned, but I may take a week or three just to give us time to catch up on the drinking process, because this is becoming a lot of beer.

So.  We’ve passed the solstice, the days are getting shorter but no cooler, what better time of year to avoid the outside, and instead write?

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