Whispers 2

It’s been a while. Those whispers. More than a year. I’d kind of forgotten about them because the house has been…I don’t know. Not quiet, exactly. Acquiescent? There’s always a bit of a feeling around here.

But then today I was taking a shower. It was the middle of the day, a perk of working from home. I was singing “You Can’t Do That,” a favorite Beatles tunes, and was leaning into the water. It was relaxing.

That’s when I felt it. A tap. Two of them. On my shoulder.

Not “like” a tap. It was a tap. A finger touching me, quick and firm. Tap tap on the back of my shoulder demanding attention.

My mouth slammed shut and I spun around. I’m not sure what I expected to see, but I was alone. Just me and the water.

Prologue Is Past

I stripped the prologue from my novel recently. I had to do it, and that makes me tense. Let me explain.

Old typewriter with "Prologue" crossed out by a red pen.

Prologue vs. the Big Red Pen

No, first, some catchup: I took time off from my novel last year (hence the lack of updates here). I needed to distance myself from it so I could see it with fresh(er) eyes. Once I came back to it, I realized the beginning wasn’t as tight as the ending, where I’ve spent far, far more time.

I fixed that, and in the process I made myself nuke the prologue. Agents and editors are mixed on prologues these days, with the haters strong on the hate. I suspect it’s because so many new authors misuse their prologues as info dumps.

I’ve seen it repeatedly in the writer forum I hang out in. Everyone feels their readers need to know all the cool world building stuff they came up with, and they cram it into the prologue. Many new authors push back when dinged for the info dump, and watching them go through that process taught me a thing or two.

Mining For Pics

Been busy. Synopsis writing—have I mentioned how much I hate writing a fucking synopsis? And querying. I hate the query process. There was also a little thing called Christmas. Next is New Year’s, followed immediately by CES. I hate CES, too, but that’s another story.

Anyhoo, I’ve been mining my photo library for good pics. Wait, let me rephrase that: I’ve been looking for images I’ve previously rejected that can be made cool because I know a lot more about editing photos than I did back when I took them*.

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve already seen most of them, but I wanted to post some slightly higher res versions here. You can see much larger versions by clicking on any given photo.

First up is a buffalo in Yosemite. 2005, I think. Or maybe 2006. This beast was marching down the road like he owned it, which he probably did. I wasn’t arguing. I got a few shots of him coming towards the car, but I was stoked when I got this shot less than two meters away.


Move over rover, or I will fuck you up.


I’m getting ready to leave. TV off, ceiling fans off. Windows, closed. It’s quiet on the third floor. I turn off the lamp in my office, the last light on the third floor that was on.

I hear a door shut on the second floor. I thought I was alone in the house.

Whispers. Close. On the stairway. Halfway up. I freeze. The whispers continue. I imagine they’re whispering that I’m coming.

“Hello?” I say. It was instinctual. A bad line straight from of a horror movie.

“Just me,” my roommate calls from the second floor. The whispers stop. “I’m headed out.”

Speaking of Clouds, How about Some Words?

I won’t bother telling you that I’ve finished Accidental Intelligence again. We’ve all been down that path together too many times. I will tell you, however, that I started querying once more.

It’s a rough time of year to query because many agents stop taking submissions this quarter, but we’ll see what we see. I have what I think is a good query letter, and Q really helped me polish the holy heck out of my manuscript. Between her and D. A. Del Castillo, not to mention my great betas, I’ve had some remarkable help.

Anyhoo, I ran my final manuscript through Wordle.net—which is just far too cool—and got this awesome word cloud. In other words, here’s my novel in a nutshell. Now, if I could just get a TextArc of it…

What are words for? (Click for a larger image)

What are words for? (Click for a larger image)

A Giant Cotton Candy Cloudship Enterprise

I was driving back from Vegas after CES back in January—in southeast California to be precise—and there was this killer cloud formation. It looked a lot like a spaceship. A giant cotton candy Enterprise. I posted one pic to Instagram—shown below—but threatened to post more of them on my blog. Nine months later, let’s do it!

One caveat: I like these pics, but they don’t do justice to what I saw that evening. The textures and swirls and layers that were in this formation…I’ve never seen anything like it before.

Here’s the Instagram post. I upped the brightness and lowered the contrast for the post:

Fiddle About

ZOMG, but Giorgio A. Tsoukalos is one of my guilty pleasures. First on Ancient Aliens and various standalone UFO specials, and now on his own show, a reboot of Leonard Nimoy’s In Search Of…I love this guy. In fact, if there’s a show on H2 where the answer to every question asked by the narrator is “No!” Mr. Tsoukoalos is probably involved, and I love them all.

Right now, I’m watching the In Search Of… episode dedicated to Puma Punku. This place fascinates me. I reject the conclusions reached on every show I’ve seen about the site—i.e. that aliens built it thousands of years ago—but it’s an amazing site.

"Puma Punku landscape" by Janikorpi - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Puma_Punku_landscape.JPG#mediaviewer/File:Puma_Punku_landscape.JPG

“Puma Punku landscape” by Janikorpi – Own work.
Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

So, anyway. I’m fiddling about. I’m also fiddling about with the theme of my blog. I’m looking for something modern and modern that I can install myself. I haven’t found it yet, but you may see a few different looks here at GeekTells while I’m looking.

I’m also in the home stretch of my final edit on my book. I should be querying in a couple of weeks. That is, if I can stop fiddling about.

Scattershot: Writing Update, Guitar Show, Cherokee Purple Tomatoes

I know, it’s been roughly forever since my last update. I’ve been working quite hard on my novel(s), and I have a new query letter that’s almost ready to go out. I’ve also been working very hard at TMO, and have resumed my original role there as editor-in-chief.

It’s made for a very, very busy me, and updating my blog has was one area that suffered accordingly.


Some of you might remember that I queried my novel before, roughly two years ago. I’ve explained all that, but with the newly completed novel came the need for a new query letter. This time around I hunkered down for some help from the Query Letter Hell thread at the Absolute Write forums, and it was fucking brutal.

But thanks to the awesome folks there, I have a brand new query letter all ready to go. I hope to send it out in early September, starting with some of the agents I queried the first time around.

Stick a Fork in It (Again)

I am delighted to announce that my book is finished. Again. I know, I said that before. OK, I’ve said it twice, but I think it will stick this time. I am ready to shop this puppy. Again.


Mayhaps I should explain: a few months ago I finished the book and got it out to beta readers. Based on their feedback, I decided to tweak the ending.

That ended up being much harder than I was anticipating, and I ended up writing some 24,000 words for what ultimately became a 2,600 word tweak. Just imagine me at an old-fashioned typewriter hammering out page after page after page of story that went straight into the trash.

I’ve been working on that for weeks, and then I went through the manuscript again to trim it down to my goal of 120,000 words. Tonight I made the last edits I intend to make, at least until an agent or editor asks for changes

What’s in a Year?

It’s been an interesting year in very many ways, but I decided to use Tax Day to look back at what’s most important. My hair.

Yeah, I know. I haven’t updated my blog in something like 5 months, and now I’m back talking about my hair. That’s how I roll. Besides, lookit:


A year ago, 6 months ago, and a week or so ago

in thirteen or so months, I’ve gone from metrosexual wannabe to a William Shakespeare impersonator, with a pitstop trying out for Beck’s band in between. I also stopped coloring my hair, so there’s that.

While we’re talking about me, check out this photo my friend Jim Tanous took at Cirque du Mac 11 from the year’s Macworld/iWorld. If you like it, we posted a whole gallery of his photos of the Macworld All Star Band at The Mac Observer. Jim is a heckuva a photographer, a gifted writer, and a great guy.