NaNoWriMo 2014: Yeah, I’m doing it again

I must be a glutton for punishment. Come to think of it, wouldn’t that make me a masochist? Digression aside, I’ve signed up for my fourth NaNoWriMo. Please, please. I’ll continue once the applause has subsided.

Okay? Good. Yes, once again I’m throwing my hat into the writing arena, and I’m excited to be doing this again. I don’t know why I bother. In spite of my goals, I haven’t once published any of my novels, NaNo or otherwise. This year’s novel is a prequel to my first novel, The Son of the Father, written primarily from Giada’s point of view instead of Fr. Mendoza. I hope it works out.

I’ve won every year, and I plan on winning again this year. I’ve wanted to write this book for a while now, and I think this is as good a time as any to do it. Once I’m done, I want to rewrite that first novel, incorporating some suggestions a friend had given me in order to make it a stronger book.

Right now, I’m rewriting another NaNo novel, my 2012 book, which I’m now tentatively calling Jasmine, after my main character. I still haven’t found a suitable name. This rewrite has been easy going so far, but it will become fairly intensive soon enough. There are some major changes I want to make to the plot, which I hope will help improve what I have written.

I had wanted to publish this last year, but another friend took a look at it to proofread it. I’m still waiting for her to finish. It doesn’t matter now. I’m rewriting the damned thing now.  Again, I don’t know why I’m doing this. I haven’t proven to myself that I will go through with my ultimate goal and put it out to be read by actual readers, but then again, if I don’t rewrite it, I know I never will.

So much writing to do. I think I need to get busy. I don’t know if I’ll have time to do much writing this week, but I’ll do what I can.

The long week ahead

Today is Friday, and this is my last day off until next Saturday. I hate working long stretches. Hell, I hate working, period. No, let’s be positive. I have a job. It pays me a pathetic wage, but at least it’s in a currency that (still) has some intrinsic value attached to it. Tomorrow I’ll get off at a reasonable time, and I’m positive I hate working, period.

See? Who says I’m always negative? Silly people. Joking aside, I will have to work seven days, but then when I get off next Friday, I’ll be leaving immediately to Corpus Christi, a  mere 654 miles (1052 km) away. That’s in no way exhausting. I think I need a nap.

Next Saturday, the family is getting together to celebrate my Grandmother’s birthday, so in spite of my whining, it’s actually worth it. She’s my last grandparent still alive. It would be nice to see her while I still have the opportunity.

I think we take family for granted, especially when they are involved with our lives. We get used to their being there, stalwart and true, the rock upon which a family is founded. Once they pass, it’s amazing how quickly the family goes their separate ways, each becoming the patriarchs and matriarchs of their respective clans.

Just think about the history they have, our grandparents, and great-grandparents, if you are lucky enough to still have any yet living. What have they witnessed? What were their lives like before they settled down? What family history do they know that will go to the grave once they pass?

I don’t want to come across as depressed, but it’s just a thought that crossed my mind. It’s scary how fast time flies by, and it seems to speed up with each passing year. I swear, I still feel like I should be in my twenties, but that old man staring back at me in the mirror likes to remind me that I’m not. I hate you, old man!

No point worrying about what will happen. Instead, come next Saturday, we will celebrate what we still have. Yes, we have suffered heartbreaks, losing members of our family. It’s both a joy and a curse to belong to a large family. My grandmother had fourteen children, and has lived to bury three. It’s sad, but we have to continue living in the present.

 

Just let it go, Joe

Why is it that I’m so brilliant in my mind that I am in real life? You know what, please don’t answer that. I really do not want to know. Seriously, it was a rhetorical device to introduce my topic of conversation, which is how I can create something so poetic when I’m nowhere near a computer, or pen and paper, and I’m stuck staring at a blank page when I am. Where does that creativity go?

I know, I’m probably not as eloquent as I think I am in my daydreams. I sure as hell not that great of a writer to begin with, but I try. I write what I feel at the moment, and later I can’t help but feel insecure about what I committed to writing. Is it good enough? Are you, the reader, able to understand what I’m trying to say? Am I just being paranoid? Should I just let it go?

I think I should just let it go. No point drawing you further into my craziness.

Book Review: Dark the Night Descending

Dark

Dark  the Night Descending © 2014 Jennifer Bresnick

Arran Swinn is a captain without a ship, a man who is trying to rebuild after an unfortunate disaster at sea. After securing enough money, he buys an old ship, The Tortoise, and begins to look for a crew, though securing cargo becomes his next challenge.

When Elargwyd, one of the Neneckt – a race of sea-dwelling creatures who have the ability to change their appearance – comes to the captain, looking for passage, he reluctantly accepts the job, though one passenger isn’t much of a cargo. Arran looks for an old client in the hopes of securing something profitable, but he is turned away. He is  therefore surprised when packages mysteriously arrives from the client. Arran accepts the payment without regard to what the packages are.

That decision begins a series of disasters, each pushing Arran further along a path where he is no longer in control. The shipment put Arran in the cross-hairs of the Guild of Miners, a group regulates the trade of red iron, a scarce and precious commodity, and a target for counterfeiters.

Arran is forced into hasty alliances in the hope of clearing his name, and finding the a way to pay a debt to a mysterious creature, a payment whose forfeiture would result in his death. After betrayals and shifting alliances, Arran is confronted with his destiny, one that put his life and death in his hands. His fate, and the fate of mankind, may rest in his decision.

I’m familiar with Jennifer Bresnick’s work, having read a few of her short stories, and I even reviewed her first book, The Last Death of Tev Chrisini – the 2012 winner of the Shelf Unbound Contest for Best Independently Published Book. In this novel, I see a great improvement in her writing and storytelling.

In Dark the Night Descending, I found her ability to create a world uniquely her own as good as ever. Her world is inhabited by men and other super-human beings, creatures that have to power to terrorize mankind. It is not a safe world, and the terrors she writes are not unknown to the thoughts of men.

I can relate to Arran as a man trying to fight his way back after suffering a professional setback. He’s a man who finds himself dragged into a situation beyond his ability to cope, and his struggle is complicated by a cast of characters that have their own agendas, ones that finds Arran as dispensable.

Our hero has choices to make. Does he despair and accept defeat, or does he fight on, railing against the powers that seek to use and ultimately destroy him? When his allies betray him, to whom does he turn? Is there anyone left to trust?

The idea of a person finding that he has a greater destiny is nothing new, it’s a well-worn device in literature. What Jennifer does so well is that there is nothing remarkable about our hero, no super power or great ability that sets him apart. He is an every man, somebody who wants to make an honest living and do the best he can with what he has.

To me that’s the heart of the story, that though many powers have tried wrestle control of his life from our hero’s hands, what they can’t take is ability to choose for himself. He is unpredictable and thus he makes himself a dangerous power in his own right. That’s the lesson I take out of it, that we are ultimately in control of how we react to life’s surprises.

I have to give her effort a well-deserved 5 out of 5 stars. The story is entertaining and never predictable. As a reader, I never knew who I could trust, or even like. I was left wanting more and having to wait for the next installment to be written and published. I can’t wait!

Dark the Night Descending is the Book One of the Dreamer’s Shadow Series. You can find this, and her other works on Amazon or Smashwords. Please check her out on her blog Inkless and on Facebook.


Jennifer Bresnick
The Last Death of Tev Chrisini

List of Book Reviews
Next review – Through Kestrel’s Eyes (TBA)
Previous Review – Back From Chaos

No, I’m not dead

In case you’re wondering, I’m still alive. Now that the mystery has been solved, you may get back to living your lives. For some reason, I sense indifference from the audience, not that I’m surprised. If you’re anything like me, you have so many different people vying for attention that you don’t miss the peripheral things. I’m not peripheral, am I?

To answer the unasked question, I’ve finally been offered a full-time position at my job, with hints that they are interested in helping me towards a leadership position of some type. The transition has been a little difficult for me. It’s mostly getting used to working more hours and having an extended work week, which I’m grateful for. I just need to accustomed to having a real job again.

But with the increase in hours comes a decrease in available hours to write. That wouldn’t be so bad, but I lose ten hours a week just on my commute, on top of which I do not have a set schedule. Some days I work a mid-shift, the next I work until midnight, and another day I might have to be there at six in the morning. It’s stressful and leads to getting no sleep and an increased level of stress. I’ve dealt with it before, I’ll learn to cope with it again and find my mojo.

The real reason for my absence, other than exhaustion, is that I haven’t had anything to say for the past few weeks. No, that’s not it. I do have things to say but I’ve decided this isn’t the forum to express myself. When I started out, this was a place for me to vent my frustrations and to be frank, a place to bitch. I don’t really need it, but trying to convert it to simply a writer’s blog isn’t working for me at all. I’m not so focused.

I’m considering making a move and starting fresh on a new blog, a place where I can post essays about silly observations, current events, and my favorite topic, the happenings of my life. That’s what I want to do. I don’t want to limit myself to just writing about writing, or reading. I want to go back to what I loved doing, which was writing about anything and everything.

I’m not planning on discontinuing this page. I still need to talk about what I’m working on, a place to review the occasional book, and to dream about actually publishing something. Maybe I will get around to it. I hope I will.

As such, I pulled out an old manuscript and I started polishing it up, rewriting what needs rewriting, editing what passes, and maybe making it presentable. We’ll see. I have an idea for NaNoWriMo 2014, something I’m excited about. I can’t wait to get started.

I also have a new book review coming out on Monday, October 6th for Dark the Night Descending by Jennifer Bresnick. I can’t wait to share it with you. Follow the link to see what it’s about, and maybe pre-order it as well. My thoughts will have to wait a few more days.

That’s it for now. I’ll stop neglecting my responsibilities and post more frequently. I’ll see you all on Monday, if I don’t post anything sooner. Have a great weekend and stay safe!