Tag Archive: moving



As you all know this blog has been undergoing a serious renovation for the past few weeks. The reason for this is the fact that I recently looked over some of our past entries found that this site contained well over 350 posts, which cover a variety of subjects from thoughts on writing, tips, book reviews, updates about our own works, etc.. etc…

I then thought about our readers, especially those who were new to the blog, and how difficult it would be to try and find a particular post or topic.  This would be a daunting task considering the fact that most of the posts were created on my mood at the time, which means they’re are pretty much spread willy-nilly throughout the blog.

Clearly something had to be done.  Some semblance of order was needed to make things easier for all.  So I set about adding menu buttons and linking specific posts to each in order to make the site easier to navigate. To date, the following menu selections are up and running:

“Musings of Two Creative Minds” 

(technically not a button, you just click on the name of the site to get to the main blog)

“About Us”

(Kind of self-explanatory)

“Para-Earth Books” 

(synopsis of our books and links to where you can get them)

“What We’ve Been Reading” 

(links to all the books we’ve reviewed by other authors)

“About Writing and Self-Publishing” 

(Mostly finished – still have 2 years of posts to link to this button:  but this is where you’ll find posts about specific topics, along with our experiences and thoughts on the writing process)

However there are still some buttons that are not fully up and running yet.

“Reviews”

(what others are saying about our books)

and finally

“Coming Soon”

(It pretty much speaks for itself)

Again, there are over 350 posts to sort and get links established, so please be patient.  I can safely say that all this reworking of the blog has given me ideas for at least several entries to share with you all in the near future.  In the meantime, please try the buttons out and give us some feedback on what you think of the new layout.  Is it helpful?  Does it make things easier to find?

Finally, we want to let you know that we have big plans for this blog and that other new features will be added in the coming months including videos, and possibly some audio-readings as well.  So please bear with us as this will take a little while, especially as we’re moving into a new apartment which is taking up a lot of our time.  But we’ll try to keep posting new things here in the meantime.  We have a little cache of entries which we’ll be parceling out to keep you all amused.

So stay tuned and keep writing!

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Life Gets Complicated Sometimes…


****HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL****

Last year ended on a few rough notes for us, namely all our holiday plans for visiting family and friends were rudely interrupted by two very nasty cases of Flu and Bronchitis.  We are happy to report that the two of us are finally on the mend.  However, life has been throwing us some other curve balls in the meantime, such as we are looking for a new place to live since our current location requires a commute to work that can last from 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours one way, which means we spend a good 2-3 hours a day in the car going to and from our jobs.  This is of course leaves us very little time for writing, editing, correcting or even braining story ideas.  

 

Between the commute from Hell and being sick, we’ve had little or no time to work on anything lately.  Thus the release of the anthology “The Vampyre Blogs – One Day At A Time” has to be pushed back at this time.  We’re not sure when it will be released, other than the fact that it WILL come out sometime this year, the question is simply WHEN? 

 

Currently we have been looking at new apartments much closer to work which would leave us more time and more importantly ENERGY to write and work on the backlog of stories we have planned.  There are at least 4-5 books already under way, some are much more advanced than others.  In one case we have a complete “Untitled” 1st draft of a two book saga focusing on Brandon Elliott (the ghostly figure who watches over Cassandra in “The Bridge” and “The Ship”).  However, his story cannot be told until “The Door” has been finished and released (hopefully later this year).  The reason for the delay is the fact that certain events must unfold in the present day, before Brandon’s story, along with certain family secrets that take place back in early 1800’s, can be fully revealed.

 

*Note: This is not the final version of the cover

The eagerly awaited second installment in “The Vampyre Blogs” side of the Para-Earths Series is also currently under way.  Those who read the first book, already got a glimpse into where the second book will begin and we have also given readers a glimpse to the approaching danger that threatens not on Nathan and those he loves, but the entire town of Pointer.  (Click on these links to read that short story: 

 
 

Also under way, is “The Pass” my first collaboration with my old high school friend Rich Caminiti.

L

This has been the most challenging pieces we’ve worked on, since all of the book has been worked on by long-distance, file-sharing, and Skype sessions.  This is one of the first full-length Para-Earth entries to be set in the past where we meet people and ‘others’ from this reality taking on a threat form a Para-Earth that could not only change the course of the Civil War, but the survival off all life on this Earth.  Oriental mysticism, American history, and Native American folklore come together in this epic tale that will keep the readers on the edge of their seats.  

 

Finally, Helen and I have also started bringing characters from “The Ship” and “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” together in the upcoming “Misty Mountains”, which brings the readers back to the shores of Santa Cruz (where the events of “The Ship” took place).  Julie Cloudfoot’s younger brother Johnny and his new girlfriend the mysterious Michelle, are house-sitting Cassandra’s beach residence when they meet a strange fellow named “The Professor” (aka Professor Otto Hofstadter from “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home”) near the tide-pools at Natural Bridges.  Their meeting becomes the backdrop of a new Para-Earth threat that has entered this world.  A threat that will place all three into terrible dangers from not only the intruding life-forms, but illegal drug wars.

 

So as you can see we have a lot in store for you all coming up.  But first we need to get re-settled and free up our time and energies.  We ask for your patience and understanding in the meantime and will be keeping you all updated on what’s happening and how we’re doing here on our official website.   

 

You can also subscribe to this website by using the sign-up link, located at the bottom of the Home Page, and receive notifications of all new updates.  We will be posting several times a month sharing information about our thoughts on the writing process, book reviews, and  of course updates on our own works in progress.

 

Thank you all for your continued support, and may the new year bring you all much joy and pleasure in all aspects of your lives.   


Well, we’re mostly settled into our new place, so the dust is slowly settling from all of that.

 

 Well mostly settled.

 Still unpacking and organizing where we want things to go and how, but that’s just normal after a move.

But sometimes figuring out how to organize your story and where you want certain events or revelations to go can also be pretty tricky.  It can even lead to problems I’d never thought about, like Writer’s Block.  Or, as it was with me recently,  STEALTH WRITER’S BLOCK!

Now what I mean by that is a kind of Writer’s Block you aren’t even aware of.  To give you an example, this is what happened to me.  I had finished a particular scene in my current novel and had moved way beyond it with the rest of the story.   But for some odd reason, I kept finding myself going back to that scene and wondering about it.  It would happen every so often then I’d get back to where I actually left off writing.  But soon enough I was back to that scene again.  And slowly my whole writing process came to grinding halt as I kept studying that scene and dwelling on it.  It took me a week or more to realize what had happened and that I needed to fix that scene in some way to make the rest of the book make more sense and feel complete.

At this point you can see what I called it “Stealth Writer’s Block”, and I had a bad case of it.  I kept turning that one scene over and over in my mind, like I was working on a Rubik’s Cube.  I got so desperate I turned to a Magic Eight Ball and started juggling it just for giggles.  Giggling at this point is not a good sign.  If you find yourself suffering from this, please see a doctor at once.  Preferably “Doctor Who”.

 

 Ah, much better…

Seriously, I find watching something I really enjoy sometimes helps me get past writer’s block.  It allows my mind to wander, while being entertained.  A part of my brain analyzes the story I’m watching and breaks down its pacing, plots, subplots, characterization, etc., while the rest of my mind is being entertained.  Then I’ll compare what I’ve analyzed with the scene I’m stuck on and poof, inspiration hits or in this case insight.

After watching my shows and sorting through my musings, I finally realized what was wrong with the scene, nothing.  It was fine as it stood, it even worked well with the overall feel of the novel.  So what was bothering me about it, you ask?  I could expand and change it ever so slightly to important provide foreshadowing for events coming later in the novel.

So I went back and made the adjustments I envisioned and cranked out between 3000-7000 words in a couple of days.  I even cut down the overall word-count for the novel at this point leaving myself room for extra scenes I had in mind for the climactic final battle.  For those who are wondering why I’m worried about word-count I’ll address that in one of my upcoming blogs.  It is something all writers have to be aware of when you are creating the final version of your work which you intend to send to agents or publishers.

Now I have my book back on track and its looking much better.  The story seems more gripping and the overall flow feels more natural to me.  So beware of the dreaded “Stealth Writer’s Block”, it may appear at any time.  It may even have its claws sunk into you at this moment, if it does I have this advice.  Take two episodes of whatever is your favorite show and then call your manuscript in the morning.  Once it shows up for breakfast give it a really good going over and see if any tweaking might be needed.

Until next time, keep writing.

My Path Is Changing…


I’m on Spring Break this week from the university and luckily none of my instructors loaded me down with extra work.  So I have some time to myself, finally.  I’ll try and get some writing done this week, but for now I wish to share some of my thoughts about the future.

First off, “No one panic!”  I’m not giving up on writing novels.  Writing is my passion and to stop doing it would be like ripping out a huge part of who I am.  Writing is not just something I do, it’s who I am.  So there is no way I’ll ever stop.  I’m even planning on getting some voice software like ‘Dragon’ so I can dictate my ideas to the computer on those days when the fibromyalgia is making it difficult to type.

But as for my university studies… I just don’t know anymore.  Most days it seems most of my instructors are talking about how we’re being prepared to not only get a Bachelor’s Degree but to pursue a Master’s Degree.  In fact, most of my classes seemed geared to doing just that and nothing else.

I entered university to gain more knowledge and skills to help in my quest for getting a job in Human Services.  But instead I’m hearing (from the instructors mind you) that “These days a Bachelor’s is the equivalent of what a High School Diploma was a few years ago.  What you really need to do if you’re going to get anywhere is pursue a Masters…” etc.  Hearing things like this does not inspire me very much.  I’m 50 years old, I cannot keep wracking up more student loan debt and do nothing but intern work for the next 4-5 years.  PLUS… all this extra studies would take away from my writing and spending time with my wife.

Originally I started university so my wife and I could keep living in the off-campus housing that was inexpensive and an easy commute.  But we’ve discovered this year that my wife is deathly allergic to certain plants in the area where we are living, and the pollens are out of control this year to the point other residents who have lived in this area for years are having troubles like never before.   Now both my wife and I have asthma which is being exasperated by these conditions as well making life much harder for us both.

We’ve both started putting in applications for county jobs and I’ve got an interview for one county job next week.  Yesterday we went to Santa Cruz to get job applications for Santa Cruz Metro, which has some nice job openings as well.  We’re both going to keep putting in for other decent paying jobs with benefits as well until either of us land something that pays good.  We’ll probably be moving before this year is over.  We are going to try and stick near the water (we live near the Monterey/Santa Cruz Peninsula).  But I don’t think we can stick it out where we are for more than a year.

In the meantime, I’ve got 6-7 more weeks of class after this break is over.  Don’t know how much writing I’ll be able to get done, so I’m going to say flat out that “The Door” will NOT be released in May as originally planned.  I’m aiming for September to release it and then do a second release in December involving “The Vampyre Blogs”.

At this point I’m undecided which tale of “The Vampyre Blogs” to release.  I have a complete 1st draft of a novel and a novelette.  Both are going to be getting proofread and edited during the next few weeks and will be more than ready to be released in December.  The novelette is a Christmas story I posted on my other blog “The Vampyre Blogs – Private Edition” last year.  I am planning on making illustrations for the story to make it more special in book form.  The novel would be the normal style I’ve put out before.

I could use some feedback from you all on what you’d like to see come out first.  So I’m attaching a link to a survey so you can help guide my decision:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/WSX8S5C

That’s all I have to say for now.  I just want to say thank you all for continuing to read this blog and I look forward to hearing back from you soon.  Take care and keep writing.

 

I’m Back Baby…


In the immortal words of Bender the robot from Futurama “I’M BACK BABY!”  Things are finally settling down from our recent move from Santa Cruz to the Monterey Bay Area.  Both my wife and I have started up with more classes.  She is going to a university, while I’m still studying at a local community college and looking for work.  I’ve been getting applications put in but little response so far.  But hey, at least I’m trying.

In the meantime I’ve been making some serious headway on my 2nd novel “THE SHIP”.  Things had ground to a halt on that front even before we started the move.  I kept finding myself going back to one particular scene I’d done about a third of the way into the story.  Something about it kept nagging at me and I had to keep going back and looking at it.  It was a good scene with plenty of action and even some serious foreshadowing of things to be revealed later in the story.  But there was still something not quite right about it and I just couldn’t get myself to work on the rest of the story because of it.  Eventually I realized I was having a strange type of writer’s block that I dubbed “STEALTH WRITER’S BLOCK” in my other blog.  It was so subtle I hadn’t realized what was happening and that it had brought my whole project to a grinding halt.  However, I finally broke through it in the last few days.  I realized as good as the scene was there was more I could do to it in order to really help the overall story along.  Better foreshadowing along with an important glimpse into Cassandra’s family history, that will play a major role not only in this novel but the next one as well.  I’ll probably post a section of this rewritten scene here in my next entry.  I don’t want to make this entry too long.

I’ve also been working on my Vlog a bit more and have decided to open up a bit more about myself to all of you in it.  Sometimes talking or showing is easier than writing.  I’ve got several videos planned out, one of which will be a sort of tribute to one of my favorite types of film, the silent comedies from the early 1910’s-1920’s.  Another will be about settling into my new place and getting acquainted with the area a bit.  While the third one will go deeper into how I create and develop characters for my novels.

So stay tuned for those.  And as I mentioned before, I’ll also be posting more of my 2nd book here very shortly.  Thanks for reading and take care.  I’ll be back with more soon.


I created this video with the YouTube Video Editor because my cell phone will only allow me to e-mail videos only once and I accidentally lost all of them on my laptop. So I just sent all the vids to YouTube and edited the puppy here (http://www.youtube.com/editor).

Anyway, this is the finale about my setting changing. I know you all have been supportive and maybe wondering a little bit about why I chose to do this series. Well here’s the answer, setting affects people. Especially it affects your characters. Their drives, dreams, motivations, how they feel (excitement, boredom, anger, resentment, etc.) And changing settings can have a huge impact on them and what choices they make with their lives and how they react to it. You’ve seen me go through a range of emotions and seen some parts about me I’ve never revealed to you before (like saying goodbye to a place and thanking it for all it had done for us). Can a place be sentient or aware? I like to think so. But you would’ve never known about it until this video. So give more thought about the settings in your writing and how it affects your characters and their world views. And make sure there is some interaction between them and their setting you can wind up with some powerful ideas you never thought about before. Thanks for watching.

My next video will be about my new setting and the joys of unpacking. And trying to find where some of our stuff landed up when we need it. Take care and thanks again.

 


Here is the 3rd installment of my 4 part video story about me and my wife moving away from Santa Cruz to the Monterey Bay Area.


Just uploaded a new video on my Vlog/YouTube channel about “Setting”. This is the first of a few installments about how a person’s setting can affect them, whether they are a character in a story or an author in real life. Please check it out and leave a comment either here or on my YouTube channel underneath the video. Thank you.


Hello Everyone.  Sorry for the long delays between posts.  I’m still sharing my laptop with my wife, plus my new job has been keeping me very busy.  I was supposed to have 2 days off in a row this week, then I was told that I had to come in on one of those 2 days to get more training.  Wasn’t happy about it, but I understand the reason.  The trainer is going to be leaving shortly and our time together is drawing to a close very quickly.  HOPEFULLY… things will become a little more steady and regular in a couple of weeks and I can schedule myself to work on my blogging.  So please be patient.

 
In the meantime, I have been able to get some work in on novel #2 “THE SHIP”.  Currently it is sitting at about 65,000 words still, but that’s because I had to go back and look over some earlier portions of the book and do some serious cutting and re-editing.  I’m trying to aim for about 120-140,000 words for the first draft.  The final draft will come in under 100,000 words.  So why the high count you say for the first draft?  Simple, the way I write I want to get the main story down and all the characters on board, as well as all the most interesting actions sequences.  Then when I go to work on the 2nd draft, it’s to start cutting down the word count to something more manageable and acceptable to any potential agents/publishers.  For new authors you have to keep it below 100,000 or even 80-90,000 words to even get considered.  You don’t have a track record of proven sales behind you to get them to cut you some slack on the length.  Look at the length of the first Harry Potter book compared to the later ones and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

 

Also, I love editing my work to see how many times I repeated the same idea since it takes me weeks and months to complete a story.  I have a nasty habit of coming up with the same idea or concept in several different places of the book.  So then I have to decide where does it work the best or at all.  So keeping the draft down to 120-140,000 words is much more manageable to edit for me.  My first novel “THE BRIDGE” was a real monster when I completed the 1st draft.  That one weighed in at 198,000 words.  Then I went and did my research and found out about the length it should be.  If I recall correctly I found a quiet corner in the closet and sobbed hysterically for 2 hours.  Cutting 100,000 words was not easy but I did it.  AND it was worth it.  The final draft that I sent to the agent was much leaner and better paced than the 1st one.  Plus it’s gotten their attention and I’m just waiting for further word on it and what happens next.

 

Oh, I also just recently found out on another front that we’ll be moving soon.  Probably towards the end of July so packing has also been keeping me occupied as well.  I hope to post  here again in a week or so and I’ll give you all another sample of novel #2 “THE SHIP”.  Until then, take care everyone and thanks for reading.

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