Hey folks, it’s time for another scatter shot post. First up:
OK, how did I miss this? When did Dobby sign with The Stones? To refresh your memory, here he is in one of the Potter films:
And here is is playing guitar with Mick Jagger in the 12-12-12 Concert for Sandy Relief.
Mick’s on the left, Dobby’s on the right.
It’s great to see that even a house elf can get a leg up in the world.
I’ve been working on my first novel, a SciFi book about a PI who gets dragged into something much bigger than he thought. All he wants is to drink his strained-algae coffee, but it turns out he’s going to have to save the world. It’s called The Mason Truman Project, and I’ve blogged about it several times.
I finished the book early last spring, and I’ve been working on refining it off an on since , while I also worked on the second book in the series. I started shopping it out in June, resulting in another raft of fine editing.
I’ve had a fantastic group of beta readers. I’m lucky enough to know lots of very smart folks, and it turns out my mother thinks my book is the bee’s knees. Thanks, Mom!
I’ve also been fortunate to meet some fellow writers, and between the betas and my writer friends, I came to a realization a few weeks ago: I’ve written the book I want to read, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the book I can sell.
There were two problems, the beginning and the ending. OK, those are two huge problems, but let me explain. The beginning of my book is what I think of as a slow burner. The story unfolds organically in a deliberate way while Mason figures out how to get started on the case that gets him entangled with all this messy end-of-the-world stuff that interrupts his coffee time.
So there’s this thing called a blog hop, sort of an informal ring of unrelated sites posting on a related theme. In this case, the blog hop is for writers and the theme is our work-in-progress, meaning the book we’re writing. I found out about it from Diane Carlisle.
As I understand it, the rules are simple:
• Answer the ten questions (see below) about your current W.I.P. (Work In Progress) on your blog.
• Tag five other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop over and meet them.
Have you watched Top Gear? There’s two versions—the original is a BBC show featuring three brits as hosts, but the History Channel (of all networks) is broadcasting a U.S. version based on the original with three American hosts. I really enjoy both shows, but there’s something bugging me about the U.S. one, namely: what’s with all the cheating?
In case you’re not familiar with the franchise(s), Top Gear is a show about cars. Three men do mostly manly things with, to, and in cars. They race them, they destroy them, and they test them. They praise the good and lament the bad, they marvel at the new technologies and reminisce about the way things used to be.
In the UK version, they frequently look for new and creative ways to destroy caravans (campers to us Yanks), and they test celebrities by having them do laps in a “reasonably priced car” that is far more entertaining than it might sound. Hosts Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May are also given brutal or hilarious—sometimes both—challenges by the producers. Endurance tests, or tests with ridiculous limitations, speed tests, that sort of thing.
In the U.S., hosts Tanner Foust, Adam Ferrara, and Rutledge Wood also host celebrities in a segment called “Big Star, Small Car.” It’s a little less entertaining for some reason, but it’s still fun. They also undergo similar adventures in the form of producer challenges, though more of those challenges appear to involve modifying their cars in some way. Whatever, it’s a lot of fun.
I got a notification from GoodReads the other day. It was an update letting me know that one of the authors I had tagged—George R.R. Martin in this case—had new blog posts I might like. Here, let me show you what I saw:
Talk about accidental poignancy! Two unrelated blog posts listed in reverse order, and they say, “Life Is…Getting Older.”
Boy, truer words were ne’er spake.
Then last night, I was having a conversation with a friend of mine. During that chat, she asked me if I thought it was true that we undergo major transformations every ten years, or so.
It’s been a busy couple of weeks since my last post. The biggest thing has been the rollout of a new site design and engine at The Mac Observer. Dave Hamilton, Adam Christianson, and Eddie Machado of outside design firm Themble did an amazing job of bringing The Mac Observer into the present.
We also brought back the TMO Spin, a vehicle for our news guys to add perspective, context, and opinion to our news coverage separate from writing up the straight new itself. In that the thing that most interests me in my day job is the analysis side of things, I am super stoked we did that.
But, it’s kept me very busy. Then there was Apple’s iPhone 5 media event and all of the extra news generated by that. The spec comparison I wrote on Friday alone was a 12 hour task, and that’s not counting after-the-fact corrections and responding to comments.
Hence, the lack of updates.
I haven’t made a post in a few days, mainly because I didn’t have a lot to specifically say. As I was trying to think of what to write about, I realized I should rip off John Martellaro, my friend and colleague at The Mac Observer.
He does something called Particle Debris, a weekly column where he throws in whatever he came across throughout the week that didn’t warrant a standalone article. I think I’ll call mine…Scatter Shot. That’ll do for now, at least. I can’t promise to do it weekly, but periodically seems doable.
Quadrophenia on Blu-ray by Criterion
I have been waiting for this since I learned what the Criterion Collection was! The company announced it was releasing Quadrophenia last month, and I immediately ordered the Blu-ray version. It shipped a couple of days ago. Man, oh man, but I can NOT wait!
Jimmy’s Not Having a Good Day
The awesome and fantastic Chuck Joiner of MacJury, MacNotables, and MacTV was kind enough to invite me on to an episode of MacNotables. He wanted my thoughts on the Apple-Samsung patent infringement battle, and I’ll be honest, I kind of went a little foamy at the mouth.
Image credit: Shutterstock
The title is a lie, because I am totally stoked! On Monday morning, I got my first request for a partial! That’s publishing speak for when an author is asked to provide anything less than a full manuscript to an agent or publishing editor, and it’s the first possible step towards getting an agent.
Here’s what I sent him:
How can this not get me representation, right?! It’s illustrated!
Here’s how it works. An aspiring author—that’s me—sends a query letter to an agent. As mentioned in previous posts, I began sending out query letters about six weeks ago. This is a long, drawn out process for just about all new authors, and it can take many, many query letters and sometimes years of effort to finally land an agent, let alone a publishing deal.
I’ve been pretty busy for the last few weeks, starting with sending out a new round of query letters. I’ve found five really kick ass agents to start with, with four queries still out there. With any luck, one of them will request a partial or the full manuscript, and I am hopeful.
Interestingly, the third agent I queried effectively wanted everything an agent might want: a query letter, a synopsis, the first three chapters, and a separate bio. Note that a query letter typically has a very short synopsis/description along with a short bio included, so there’s a little redundancy there, but that’s the nature of the beast.
In any event, I mention it because it turns out that writing a real synopsis is frakking hard. Taking a 119,000 word story and condensing it to 3,200 words while keeping some style, voice, and personality in it is just obscenely hard. You have to get all the major ups and downs of the plot, mention all the main characters—but not to many, mind you, and make sure you aren’t leaving anything out.
Artist’s Rendition of My Synopsis