Posts Tagged New Peculiar

State of the Writer: February 2012

2012 Goal: Query Nickajack.  We’re still in the big first step of the querying process: finishing the damn thing.  At the beginning of the month the draft sat at 35,000 words and had moved from act one to act two.  Now the draft is at 57,000 words, and we’re just past the two thirds point in that second act.  I’ve had months where I’ve written more than 22,000 words, but I don’t think I’ve had a lot of months where I liked what I was writing more.  Hopefully when next I’m visiting this goal we’ll be well into the third act with the end in sight.  I’m hoping the whole project comes in at 90-100k words, so another 22k word month will have us knocking at that door.  It also puts us well on schedule for getting some editing passes done and getting queries prepared perhaps around November or December.  Would love earlier, but patience will pay off and we won’t query this a day before it’s ready.

On my reading goals for the year, I’ve gotten through my first non-fiction selection, This Republic of Suffering.  It was about the attitudes towards death going into the Civil War, and how the conflict changed those attitudes.  It was a harsh transition from a period where people could largely die at home surrounded by loved ones, to dying by the thousands on battlefields hundreds of miles from home without any good process for identifying bodies.  My new book is Boneshaker which falls into the see-what-other-writers-are-doing category.  I’m going to withhold any review until I’ve finished.  Though I will say I love the brown printing for the book, though I do see several reviews calling the choice of browns unreadable.  That’s the danger of risks like that, I suppose.

State of the Blog.  I’m not going to do this anymore.  State of the Blog, that is, not the blog itself.  You’re not getting rid of me that easy.

State of the Writer’s Beer.  New Peculiar is now on an official hiatus.  I’m planning my next brew day to be no sooner than late July, hopefully no later than mid August.  Last night we did take our first beekeeping class, however.  This is relevant because it’s step one towards Peculiar Mead, which will be homebrewed mead made from homemade honey.  I’m drooling over some mead recipes (including on that calls for 6.5 pounds of kiwi in addition to the honey) but the first batch will be a straight up mead with no extra ingredients.  Patience will be key, I understand mead needs to mellow for a minimum of a year.  I love the federal homebrew laws.  I can’t sell any of my homebrew, but as a household of two adults I’m legally allowed to brew far more beer and wine for personal consumption than I actually have the equipment for.  And the mead counts towards my wine limit!  Ahh, homebrew.  Seriously, give it a try, it’s a lot of fun.

Looking to February.  A short, cold, brutal month.  Looking back at my January post I said February was a good target for finishing the first draft of Nickajack, I’m going to say I’m hopeful, but I won’t beat myself up if it doesn’t happen.  I do have a few days coming up where it’s just me in the house, which are often good for my production.  That…sounds far worse than I intended.  The next big collaboration challenge will come up in March: how best to edit the novel together.  So far the process has been outline together, I do the rough draft, and she polishes it into a first draft a few chapters behind me.  I’m sure we’ll figure something out.

Enjoy this slightly longer than usual shortest of months.  Be back with regular posts tomorrow, probably with my thoughts about the latest twist in the Barnes vs Amazon feud.

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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: September 2011

August has come and gone.  Here in the DC area we got shaken up by an earthquake, brushed by a hurricane, but we’re still standing.  Now we head into another month and it’s time once again for an accounting of who I am and what I’m doing.

Obviously the big news of August was mentioned a few days ago, being first short-listed then ultimately accepted by The Memory Eater.  That puts two of my stories in the pipeline for upcoming anthologies.  I’m still hearing occasional news about Steam Works, and the guy behind Memory Eater is super enthusiastic, so I doubt either will meet the same quiet end as my ill fated first anthology pick-up.  That means I still have three stories out, at least one of which (hanging out at Writers of the Future) I expect to hear news back on this month.

Originally August was going to be about getting back to work on Capsule, but I got hit with the full inspiration for a short story I’ve been meaning to write for awhile called The Ghosts of Venus.  Wrapped up the first draft yesterday, and I’ll say it’s first draft good.  It needs a lot of work, and it’s going before my beta reading group this week.  Speaking of which, check out the new CVS Website.  It’s still a little light on content, but it’s also freshly relaunched, it’ll be growing.

August started with the announcement of the Flashathon, and I’ve been posting new information as I have it.  If I’m counting correctly today marks 50 days ahead of the event.  We’re putting plans in motion to have a few hours of guest inspiration as part of the event, which will be just damn cool if it actually happens.  Details will come faster and faster as the marathon approaches, I’m sure.

September dawns with me not sure what my next writing project is.  We’re coming up on the deadline for the Dark Tales of Lost Civilizations anthology, but my concept for that is still in a very natal form.  I’ve got another story concept that has nothing to do with any current anthology calls but could be good for making a general tour of the journals.  Or maybe this time I really will get back to work on Capsule.  Anything could happen, it’ll probably come down to what inspiration hits me first.

State of the Writer’s Beer:  We’re giving Lazarus Ale a little more time in bottle, so very little New Peculiar was drunk this month.  I’m under a promise not to start brewing another batch until we’ve gone through at least another dozen bottles of our current batches.

State of the Writer’s Blog:  Added several states to my goal of getting visits from all 50.  This month saw the first visits from Alaska, Nevada, Vermont, Rhode Island, and Delaware.  This leaves me just Montana, both Dakotas, Arkansas, and Louisiana to go.  I knew I should have had Renee pop into my blog briefly while she was in New Orleans.  The month also saw the site smash previous viewership numbers with over 275 hits and 400 pageviews.  Those are still tiny numbers, but they rapidly growing numbers.  It was as recently as May that I crossed 100 hits in a month for the first time.  Hopefully with the upcoming Flashathon and publications, numbers will improve that much more.

State of the Writer’s Pseudonymous G+ Account:  I said in my last post about the Google+ pseudonym issue that I would feel pretty safe if I made it to the end of the month.  Well.  I’ve made it to the end of the month.  So either the policy is being very poorly enforced, or initials don’t count towards the pseudonym policy.  Either way, I’m feeling rather more comfortable that the account will remain.

So now, that’s a month over and retrospective given, let’s look ahead.  Onward to September!

September poster product of WPA and released to Public Domain by the US Government.

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Beer of the Living Dead

First batch of beer I did fermented like crazy.  That’s what happens when you take all the sugar already in a beer kit and add in six pounds of strawberries for flavor: yeast go insane.  The end result was a blowout, which means the fermentation was going on so hot and heavy that yeast backed up into the airlock.  Some serious crazy fermentation, but made for a nice drinkable beer with a strawberry aftertaste that’s only getting better with age.

The new batch?  No so much.  I was concerned about the yeast before I started.  The cold pack meant to keep it at refrigerator temperatures had melted by the time the kit was delivered, and the whole box sat on my porch on a 90 degree day for several hours waiting for me to get home from work.  But I followed the directions, put the yeast in, and hoped for the best.  That was Saturday.  Sunday?  Nothing.  Monday?  Still nothing.  Tuesday?  Still nothing.  Now I’d read online that fermentation can take several days to start, and may not show up in the airlock at first, but lacking a hydrometer, the airlock is the only proof of fermentation I have available to me.

So I started to worry.  It’s an easy solution, non-fermenting beer, just add in another dose of yeast.  But there are some things that could kill any yeast added, and I was worried I’d killed my beer.  On Wednesday, however, the beer finally came to life and the airlock is now happily bubbling away, letting out all the yeast farts so that my wort can become beer.  It’s back from the dead, and as such, I think needs a new name.  Originally it was going to be called Space Ale, but now it needs some acknowledgement of the fact that it went down that path, saw the light at the end of the tunnel, and at the last moment came back.  So, a poll:

Happy drinking!

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Weekend plans: SCIENCE!

What am I up to this weekend?  Well nothing short of biological science of the finest order.  I’ll let this video explain:

Ah science, why do you make me so thirsty?

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Mustache Cat: Bottling Day

Adventures abounded during the bottling of the first batch of DL’s New Peculiar.  While doing all my santization, I re-read the instructions and saw that it was recommended to turn the priming sugar into a priming syrup, so the process got put on hold while I did some quick boiling and cooling.  During that time, I started working on sanitizing all my tubing, just to discover the bottling wand (a fantastic device that makes it a lot easier to fill a bottle to the correct level) and the tubing didn’t form a seal.

Look, I’m not saying I did the right thing.  I used duct tape.  Going forward I’m going to seek out a solution that doesn’t involve having to dunk duct tape into every bottle of beer I’m filling, but for yesterday it worked.  I got the solution in place, and started bottling.  Had a good thing going.  I was filling bottles, wife was capping them.  We were through about 18 of 24 22-ounce bottles we were filling when I suddenly remembered the priming sugar.  Sitting upstairs in the fridge.

What choice did I have?  We popped all 18 bottles and dumped them back into the bottling bucket along with the priming syrup.  This syrup provides just a little more sugar for the yeast to feast upon and provide some carbonation for the beer.  So I was damn close to bottling a full 5 gallons of really flat beer.  Redoing the bottling then resulted in my tubing clogging up with strawberry chunks twice.  Whole lot of not fun, but at least when everything got cleared out we had a good system in place.

It’s all in bottle now, priming and conditioning.  Few more weeks until I actually get to have any, but had a quick taste of the natal beer going into the bottles, and it wasn’t bad.  So here’s hoping for a good batch.

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DL’s New Peculiar: Mustache Cat

It’s been a long time since I’ve made home brew.  Far too long.  I first got into the hobby back in my old apartment when the Mr. Beer kit went for sale over at Woot.  I watched it most of the day, staring at that little “I Want One” button trying to decide if I did or not.  Brewing is something that has always fascinated me, and while I’m not a huge fan of beer in general, I have never had a home brew I didn’t like (at least up til that point, more later).  Just after noon the button started bouncing, the kits were selling out, so I clicked through fast and a few weeks later I was in possession of a little brown jug a can of malted extract, and instructions for how to make my first beer of my very own.

This is going to be a long one, so I’m going to put in a break here.  More after.

Read the rest of this entry »

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