Being the Ongoing Chronicle of the Anticks, Misadventures, and Odd Deeds of an Overalls-clad Wanderer.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Now for Kindle!!!

As you can see, Stardancer is now available for Kindle! It is exclusive to Kindle right now, but I did enroll it for Kindle Unlimited, so if you're partaking of that service, you can read it for free. (Just make sure you read at least 10 percent of the book, so I get the credit for it, money-wise!) And if you don't have a Kindle, get the Kindle app for whatever device you do have!

The paperback is still available, if that's your preference.


(And yes, I will be getting back to less book-and-writing posting at some point. This month has been exciting, though!)

Something for Thursday (Mike Nichols edition)

I see that director Mike Nichols has died, which is obviously a deep shame. I don't think I disliked a single movie of his that I've seen, although I haven't seen them all. (Well, Regarding Henry wasn't all that great, but it had some good moments.) My personal favorite film of his is Working Girl, the comedy starring Melanie Griffith and Harrison Ford, which I've always felt is a pretty underrated movie. Griffith is terrific in it, and the film was made during the period when Harrison Ford was really firing on all cylinders.

Anyway, here is the title song from that movie, "Let the River Run", sung by the great Carly Simon.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Random Wednesday Conversation Starter

Can any of you drop by with a snowplow and maybe a pizza?

OK, that's not fair. Real question: Name your favorite fictional spy, secret agent, or other such operative!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The blanketing of the world

Or at least my little corner of it.

Over the last few days, local meteorologists have been sounding the alarm that today could potentially bring some significant lake-effect snow to the region. Lake-effect snow, for those unfamiliar with such things, is snow that is fueled by cold winds traversing the still-warm and open waters of a large body of water, like Lake Erie. Those winds pick up moisture, and then when they hit land, they dump it, usually in narrow bands of nastiness that are often just a few miles wide. It's not uncommon for towns in the band to get a lot of snow while towns outside the band, just a few miles away, get almost none.

Lake-effect snow bands often start in the Buffalo metro area and almost always, after a few hours, shift southward into what's called "Ski Country" in these parts, so unless you live in those regions, usually you can count on a lake-effect storm not lasting all that long, even if it dumps a good amount of snow.

That, however, is not the case with this one. The lake-effect band has not budged, as of this writing. It started very late last night, and I got up at 4am to check things out. At that point, this is what the local weather map looked like. The blue area is the lake-effect band, and at this point it had looked like this for roughly four hours.

We live right smack in the middle of that. The blue area there is the lake-effect snow band.

Eight hours later, I took another photo of the weather map:

Ayup. The snow band has gotten a bit wider, but other than that, it's in the exact same position it was nearly twelve hours ago when it fired up.

We are getting absolutely socked here at Casa Jaquandor. Virtually every town on my side of the City of Buffalo has imposed travel bans; there are snow plow trucks stuck in ditches. Our street got plowed a couple of times, earlier, but nothing since, because what's the point?

I've seen my share of big snowfalls here, but this will be right up there with the biggest I've ever seen. Meanwhile, friends of mine who live less than twenty miles away are posting photos of their snow-dusted front lawns, blades of grass still visible, under sunny skies.

The following photo has been making the Buffalo social media rounds this morning, taken by a passenger on one of the last flights to actually get out of Buffalo Niagara International Airport. When I say that lake-effect snow can form very sharp lines between clear skies and snowy doom, I am not exaggerating.

That big expanse of gray at the right is Lake Erie, and at the lower-right corner is Downtown Buffalo. Casa Jaquandor? Well, we've been swallowed up by that enormous cloud of white doom. But hey, I still have electricity and the Interwebs and food and rum and Scotch and overalls and blankets and kitties. We'll make it through!

The Empire needs to quit searching my backyard, though.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

I am SO behind the times....

Good talk, good talk! See you out there!

A frequent feature of the message boards at the NaNoWriMo website is all the "pep talks": brief essays on writing, sometimes by major authors which are then sent out to the entire NaNo community, and sometimes by regular participants which are then beamed to the local area forums. One great example of the latter ran yesterday, by a fine woman who goes by the Twitter handle So_I_SAW. I asked her permission to run it here, and she graciously conceded, so here it is:

The world doesn’t need my novel. Let me say that again: the world doesn’t need my novel. I have no delusions of grandeur. I won’t be writing the next Harry Potter (or insert whatever book/series in your genre that fits). I don’t think I’ll be writing a game-changing novel.

So why do NaNoWriMo at all? Good question, particularly since I’ve yet to “win”, heck I have yet to finish any of the writing ideas I’ve started.

It’s simple really. I need my novel. I need the outlet. I need the story. I need the characters I live with to come out onto the page so I can re-read about them whenever I want. I need the story that I wish someone else would write. I am my primary audience. I need this.

Doing NaNo gives me a chance to refocus. There are so many authors, self or traditional published, who dismiss the event all together. If we really wanted to write we’d do it all the time. We’re not trying hard enough to make time. No novel is ever truly complete in a month. (To that last one I say, no duh. This month is about writing, not fixing and editing.) But to the other comments? I think the statements are unfair. Life gets in the way sometimes. We move, we have jobs and bills, and families. We experience creative drain. Illness. Stress. Or sometimes we just can’t write. Personally I had a few life events that took significant time and energy away from every other aspect of my life. My marriage was falling apart, I was unemployed and struggling with severe depression and a loss of a family member. It was too much all at once. I couldn’t make myself write, read, heck, I could hardly form sentences some days. The truth is, sometimes we just can’t write and hearing we aren’t trying hard enough is unhelpful. Take the break and come back later. And if you’re like me, re-read your old writings for a good laugh.

Doing NaNo allows me to try. Even better, I can do it knowing that there’s a whole world of people also trying. It’s less lonely. There’s a nice satisfaction to adding to my word count and our region’s word count. I can refocus my ideas, have a place to update my stats, complain, and get inspired with other people doing the same thing. I get a touch of healthy, encouraging pressure by participating. I’m reminded that I need this. I can practice leaving all the things that have previously held me from writing.

The world doesn’t need my novel.

But I do.

Every thing in the history of the world that's been worth doing has had to start somewhere, and that the world doesn't always make a huge deal of things doesn't mean they're not worth doing. So go ahead and start!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Resetting the Clock

Lord knows I had my issues with the Aaron Sorkin series Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, but there are a few moments from it that stick in my head, the best being in the second episode, I think. Matthew Perry is playing the late night comedy show's head writer, and he's moved into the office vacated by the previous guy, who had just been fired for a live on-air rant about how awful teevee is, or something. That's not important. What's important is the the old writer had a digital clock on the wall that counted down the time to the next episode's airing, which meant that he had a constant reminder of how he had to always be working.

Well, in the second episode, our writer guy and his director buddy (played by Bradley Whitford) put together the first episode of their era in charge of the show. It's a long, slow struggle, and they barely pull it off. The very last scene has the Perry character realizing that they've done it, they've got the show finished and it's good and it's on the air and it's all over -- and then Perry happens to turn to the "Countdown to Next Episode" clock, just in time to see it reset and start counting down again.

That's it. Moment's over. Back in the saddle.

Or, a wonderful moment (one of many) in the best baseball movie ever, Bull Durham. Our pitcher, Nuke LaLoosh (Tim Robbins), has just had a pretty good inning, retiring the side in order after spending most of his early season struggling with his control. He comes back to the dugout and takes a seat next to his veteran catcher, Crash Davis (Kevin Costner):

NUKE: I was great, huh?

CRASH: Your fastball's up, your curveball's hangin'. In the Show, they would've ripped you.

NUKE: Can't you just let me enjoy the moment?

CRASH: Moment's over.

My point? Stardancer is out (and really, if you haven't ordered a copy yet, what are you waiting for!), and I'll have more to do to sell it and market it and bask in its inevitable glory, but for now, the clock has reset, and the moment's over.

Time to keep writing.

It's a good think I happen to love writing, but I'd still like to punch the person who said, "The reward for doing good work is the opportunity to do more work."

Now, if you'll excuse me...I'm off to do some work. Sigh!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Those three little words....


STARDANCER front cover

STARDANCER back cover

Yes, today is the day. I'll have more to say later on, but for now: Stardancer is now available for purchase on

Currently the book is available in print only, but the Kindle e-version will follow in two or three weeks (more likely two), with other platforms to follow once any exclusivity periods run out.

As I say, more later.

For now, STARDANCER is available for purchase!!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

With thanks

Thanks to all who have served in our military, in wartime and peacetime, with hopes that as the future comes to pass, there will ever be more of the latter and less of the former.

T-minus One!

Oh wow...One day to STARDANCER! How to wrap it up? Well, there is a teen romance aspect to the book, so...Danny and Sandy will finish out the countdown.

Tomorrow, folks! Tomorrow, all things change!

Monday, November 10, 2014

T-minus Two!

Two days to Stardancer! Adam Ant and "Goody Two Shoes".