Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Posted an article at Wide Awakes Radio

I am one of the newests hosts at Wide Awakes Radio (www.wideawakesradio.com) and have just posted my first article on their site. Read it at: http://www.wideawakesradio.com/2007/01/31/minority-rules/trackback/

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Daydreams in the dirt

I labor during the day in the construction industry digging ditches with an oversized machine. Dad always said that if I didn't get an education I'd wind up digging ditches. Wow, was he right.

Today I got a break from the normal stress of precise grading plans and sloping depths. Normally I operate a trenching machine. Today someone else operated the dang thing, and I operated a grading tractor pulling the spoils left behind by the machine off of the pad. Of all the jobs in the company, "pulling dirt" is the function that requires the least amount of brain activity.

Hence, the allowance for daydreaming.

A small town came to my mind. My mind's eye witnessed the town's business district extending along a single road from one offramp to the next. Darkness blanketed the street. Candlelight flickered yellow and orange inside windows along the roadway.

Dusk’s growing darkness, save for the candlelit windows spread across the town. The orange glow of a cigarette, hanging in mid-air like a mid-summer firefly, rose and dropped beneath a car-port on the right.

In the distance, from the other off ramp of the freeway, approached a car. The blue halogen headlights lit up the street. The silouhette of the figure holding the cigarette off to the right became more defined in the dim murky light. He held something in his other hand. Something long. Mysterious. The object in his other hand resembled a rifle.

The oncoming car stopped fifty yards away. A young man stepped out, put his hands in the air. A lip ring glinted. His mouth was moving. He was saying something.

The orange cherry of the smoldering cigarette on the right dropped to the ground. The man in the shadows placed his foot upon the orange glow, snuffing out the burn.

The white spire of a church poked over the canopy of trees in the distance, impaling the underside of the rising moon. The lunar light revealed more people hiding along the buildings along the dark street, standing in doorways with one foot on the step and one remaining inside. Their candles flickered behind them. The people in the doorways were curious, like when someone comes across a fatal accident on the freeway. Nobody really wanted to see anything horrible happen, but they looked on anyway, just in case some blood was spilled. No one talks about it. They just want to see it.

And the man with the rifle stepped out of the shadows, approaching the young man in the street.

The onlookers heard a clicking noise.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Way of Deception is back on track

Ever since my other computer crashed and I lost literally hundreds of pages of work because I idiotically failed to back up my system, work on my book, The Way of Deception, has been sparse.

However, now that I can't simply cut and paste from my other documents (my only record of the last couple drafts is on paper) I am really having to retype everything. This is good. I have to really think deeply about what I am writing and pay special attention before I commit my words to paper. This is proving to make the book better, and I am paying deliberate attention to the character's interactions with each other.

I'll let you know when the draft is complete, and letter to agents have gone out again.

Monday, January 22, 2007

More Filing Cabinets


I print everything. I research a lot, and print those too. In short, I generate a lot of paperwork.

As the boxes and plastic containers piled up, and the piles of pages began to sway this way and that, it became apparent that I needed more filing space, and I needed it quick.
But a new filing cabinet, at the cheapest, goes for $130, or so. Some even go for a few hundred.
Salvation came in the form of a used furniture store that just so happened to have exactly what I was looking for. Five four-drawer verticals later (three in the office, two in the garage, for a total price of all 5: $210) I am able to find the floor in my office, and walk freely without the fear of creating an avalanche of flying, early draft chapters.
There is a lot to be said for wide open spaces.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Tonight on MyPoint Radio

Dave, the host of MyPoint Radio, invited me to be a guest on his show tonight, primarily for the purpose of plugging my upcoming radio show that will air on Wide Awakes Radio in February. The show was enjoyable, and another popular blogger, Dr. Blogstein, was on the air as well. And even more delightful, everybody's favorite liberal troll, Mudkitty, called in as well, and she was delightful.

Mudkitty did a fine job, and her and Jenn, I think, actually enjoyed debating while they had the chance.

Overall, it was a positive experience, and a joy to be a part of. I hope my show is just as entertaining.

We'll see. It'll be on the air on Saturday's from 5-7pm pacific time, starting probably the third Saturday from today.

Hopefully, you, my loyal readers, will be calling in to rattle my cage. Talk to ya then.

Friday, January 19, 2007

When one door closes, another opens

When my computer crashed recently, I was devastated. The last two drafts of The Way of Deception were lost, and I had foolishly forgotten to back up the files prior to the crash. Luckily, I print everything.

Finishing the book has been set back, and I wonder when I will find the time to type the 300 pages back into the computer.

My blogs have been growing, and that is great, but it didn't help my manuscript, nor the fact that I would really like to move on into something I enjoy, rather than continuing to labor in the construction industry.

On a whim I decided to listen to Wide Awakes Radio last weekend, and for the heck of it, call in. I wound up speaking to the owner of the network, and now I am slated to have my own show on Saturday nights at 5 pm Pacific time.

Now, a friend of mine is having a radio show at a special time for the purpose of plugging my new venture. I will be on MyPoint Radio on Saturday, January 20, 2007.

As the manuscript moves further away, radio has leaped to the forefront.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Radio Host on Wide Awakes Radio

The owner and operator of the Wide Awakes Radio Network just offered me the opportunity to host my own show on his network.

Cost of the hardware? $30.

Cost of the software? $0 since he's sending it to me.

Having my own radio show to further create a buzz about me? Priceless.

Friday, January 12, 2007

It's Snowing in Southern California

Maybe the picture isn't quite what it looked like.

Maybe that's not a total surprise it snowed, since the mountains get snow every winter. But this time the valleys got snow too. Not just flurries, mind you, but big ol' flakes, and it stuck to the ground.

And I had to work in that stuff.

Man, was I cold.

But, maybe I shouldn't cry too loud. I'm sure it's colder everywhere else.

Glad to be home, at my computer, and writing.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Back to Work

I returned to work, today, after being home for two weeks to recover from a double-hernia surgery. It was a long, painful day.

Climbing up into the cab of my "cab-over" big rig was a much longer climb than I remember it being before the surgery. Driving it wasn't too hard, however. Climbing down upon arrival was difficult.

Then the moment of truth. Operating my digging machine.

The bumpy ride was manageable. I completed my tasks, and then when I got home felt like junk.

All I've got to say is I can't wait until the day I write full-time for a living. Don't get me wrong, I'm not some kind of wimp, or anything. I served in the United States Military, and I've been in construction for ten years. I think I deserve a lighter job after all of that.

God Bless.

Doug

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The importance of backing up your files

Last summer I bought an external hard drive with 80 GB of memory so that I may back up my files better than just putting everything on CDs.

I backed up faithfully every weekend for, *gasp*, 1 weekend.

A couple nights ago my newer, kick-butt, expensive computer decided that something had gotten into its innards that it didn't approve of, and like a wounded duck, it crashed hard. The bug or virus or whatever caused the dang thing to die wouldn't even allow me to start the slab of technology up in "Safe Mode."

It attempted to come up when I pressed the "ON" button, flashing that familiar Windows Logo, and then darkened and the screen kindly explained to me that for some reason it was unable to launch. The DOS-like paragraphing then gave me five options regarding what to do, one of which was to start the system using the configuration that last worked. Sounded good to me, but alas, eventually I discovered that none of the methods worked, nor anything else that myself, or any of my friends were aware of.

I was ready to spend money I don't have and hand it over to the "experts" when I suddenly realized, even if I used the technogeeks at the local laptop repair shop, I probably lost everything. And I don't have the money to be taking my trusty laptop in anywhere. So I did the only thing I knew would work. A full system recovery.

To do a system recovery, the hard drive must be re-formatted, which means erasing everything that was ever on it, and then the system would return my computer to the way it was when the store received it from the manufacturer.

So here I am, on my old laptop, typing away on my blog because my newer computer (okay, two years old, but that's relatively new to me) is too dumb to figure out how to get on the internet, or how to install its hardware without the internet because it still believes it is brand new.

So, do yourself a favor, especially if you write as much as I do, back up your files. Back them up daily, if you have to. It really stinks, and crushes your insides, when something like a crashing computer takes away all of your hard work.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Last Night My Computer Crashed

So how is it, you may ask, are you able to post this article?

Back up computer. The old one that nobody uses anymore.

Glad I have her.

What's worse, is that I am normally a stickler for backing up files, and I haven't been of late, and all of the work on the ninth draft of The Way Of Deception is gone.

But I print everything, so it's not totally lost. I suppose typing it all back into the computer will allow me to proof what's been written so far, and get me back into the story. I've had difficulties the last few days working on it, to be honest, and I needed a shakeup like this.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

New Filing Cabinet


That's right, I finally ponied up $30 for an old, used, tan metal filing cabinet to sit next to the one I already have. In my 14X9 office I have crammed a lifetime of paperwork generated by my writing fetish, thirty-five years worth of baseball card collecting, over 1,000 books (of which about a third of them I have read), a desk that is bigger than it ought to be, trophies, a television, cd player, cd collection, and of course the coveted laser printer/copier/fax machine. But a lot of my novels and stories have been packed away in boxes and piled up in the corner. After hauling out half of my baseball cards, transferred to a secure location on the other side of the wall in a hutch my mom gave me (the hutch, aside from the underneath section now serving as home for my baseball card doubles and triples, is home of the many plates I have collected from each state of the union that I have had the pleasure of visiting. There's about thirty of them, I think. Roughly.), I have squeezed in the cabinet. Bought it three days ago. I am just now able to begin filling it with my babies, and tossing out boxes.

Problem is, I'm the kind of person that has trouble throwing out things. But don't call me a pack-rat. I'll bite your nose. So, I'm sitting here deciding if to keep certain boxes.

As my wife would say, "Just throw it away. If you need one later, we'll go get one."

Of course, I still have to move slowly. The pain from the surgery a week ago still has me moving around like Grandpa Fred.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Howard V. Hendrix

Howard V. Hendrix is the author of a number of fiction novels (Spears of God The Labyrinth Key Empty Cities of the Full Moon to name a few) that approach science fiction from a scholarly point of view. Thought provoking, to say the least, his novels still do not compare to conversing with him directly.

On December 8, 2006 I had the pleasure of meeting him at a book-signing, and recently traded a few e-mails with him. It is amazing how my writing skills yearned for perfection as I wrote my e-mails to him. Perhaps the fact that he is a professor (B.S., Biology, May 1980, Xavier University, Cincinnati, Ohio. Also fulfilled second major requirements in English.
M.A., English Literature, June 1982, University of California at Riverside, California.
Ph.D., English Literature, August 1, 1987, University of California at Riverside) played a part, but I began to strive for the next level in each of my responses to the highly intellectual ideas he presented to me.

I suppose it all goes back to what my dad used to say when I was a kid. When one desires to become a better chess player, the person must compete against those better than him. To play equal or lesser opponents the chess player will not be challenged to take his game to the next level.

I suppose the same goes for writing. To improve one's craft as a writer, one must write with superior craftsmen.

Mom had a saying too. "You become who you hang around."