Writing Update

A lot of people have asked me lately where I’m at with my writing. Since I posted a couple of days ago that I was not going to make the NaNo deadline, it’s a fair question to ask.

Here’s a quick snapshot.

NOVELS

1) I’ve made the decision, and it’s final, to trunk SHADES OF GRAY for the moment. I’ve gotten some really nice personalized rejections. I’ve gotten really close with this one. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s just not going to happen on that book. I hope to someday come back to it. That also means that the work I’ve done on the outline and first third of RING OF FIRE is also on hold. I only wrote the first 100 pages and an outline, hoping I’d be able to do more later. That’s looking more and more like one of the best ideas I’ve had; RING OF FIRE is a great story, but it’s definitely a sequel to SHADES OF GRAY.

2) FULL CIRCLE is still hanging out there. The first draft is pretty much done, but it’s going to need a metric ton of historical research and editing before anyone’s going to be allowed to look at it. I’ve started on it, but there’s a long road to hoe there.

3) I’m still working on the first draft of THE GRIMM LEGACY. It’s slow going, but it is moving forward. For those I’ve vented to, I’ve gotten past the scene that was bugging me. It fell together pretty easily once I finally forced myself to fight through it.

SHORT STORIES

1) POLTERGEIST ON AISLE FOURTEEN is out on submission.

2) DEMON BUSTERS, INC. did take Honorable Mention in the third quarter of this year’s Writers of the Future contest. I did some editing, and it’s back out on submission.

3) I’m in the middle of another first draft of a short story, this one involving a space shuttle covered in advertising, much like a NASCAR race.

BLOG ENTRIES

1) I submitted a guest blog to Lee Lofland’s The Graveyard Shift earlier this year on My Life as a Prosecutor. Lee’s been kind enough to invite me to write more entries, and I’m currently working on another one. I’ll post when it’s done and being posted, with links.

2) I am hoping to update this blog more often than I’ve been doing lately. There just hasn’t been a lot to post, or rather, not a lot that should be posted. There are some details about my job, about my family, or about my personal life that won’t be posted. I’m hoping to formulate a more workable writing schedule soon, and post it, as well as getting some details together about what conferences I’ll be attending next year. More to come soon!

Advertisements

NaNoWriMo Update

I’m not going to make the 50K by November 30.

There’s lots of reasons. It boils down to this…

1) I’m not under a contract by which I get money to finish my novel on time. I am, however, on payroll for my day job. I have three briefs to write. That comes first. The novel will just have to wait until I get there. We’ve been shorthanded, I’ve been in court a lot, and they’re not done yet. They come first. If I was under a paying contract for my novel, you can bet your sweet patootie that I’d be burning the midnight oil to get it done. It’s not. For reasons you’ll see, I’m trying not to wear myself completely out.

2) I’m just coming out the other side of a horrendous bout of bronchitis. I had it a couple of months ago, and I don’t think I ever really kicked it. I actually lost my voice at one point last week, which means I can’t work. Not many lawyers can get stuff done if they can’t go to court, can’t interview witnesses and can’t talk on the phone. It’s also hard to talk to the staff and the co-workers, advise law enforcement, and otherwise function. I also kept getting really dizzy. Which means, I am still behind on my day to day work stuff.

3) Add those two factors together with the fact that I’ve got more on my plate than I have had during the past three Novembers with the new house, the lack of a roommate with which to beg, borrow, and barter household tasks with, family obligations, and other craziness, and my life has gone boom.

I’m still writing. I refuse to stress myself out with everything else going on. My hope is still to have most of the first draft of GRIMM written by February. I’m hoping that I’ll be somewhere near 30K by the end of November. For me, with how this month has unfolded, that’s about as good as it’s going to get.

On the other hand, if someone miraculously popped up with a publishing contract to pay me to write to thing RIGHTNOW, I’d stay up late and drink lots of caffeine to get there. Right now, however, I’m thinking that it would be a better idea to go to bed early, drink lots of water, and stress less going into the holidays.

Hope everyone else out there is having a much better NaNo. Have a great Thanksgiving!

On an unrelated note…still having an itchy cat problem. Anyone got ideas for an overgrooming kitty?

Why I Will Never Get an iPhone as Long as They’re With AT&T

Seven years ago, there was a dispute over my AT&T residential telephone bill. It’s my understanding that this occurred as I was moving from one apartment to another.

 It was paid in full approximately seven years ago.

 AT&T continued to send the account to collections repeatedly, including the same collection agency over and over again, over the years. Every time they did so, I would call the collection agency, inform them that the bill had been paid, and offer to fax or mail the documentation. At one point, I called AT&T itself, spoke to several different employees, and faxed the information for their files.

 AT&T continued to send the bill to collections agencies, including the same agency, over and over.

 I’ve amassed a nice little pile of paperwork, documenting all of this.

 I finally sent a certified letter to the collection agency a couple of years ago, documenting all of the conversations I’ve had, all the documentation I’ve sent, copying all of it for them. I still have the signature card from the certified letter.

 When I applied for a mortgage earlier this year, I pulled all of my credit reports, and found references to a collection for this account. That ticked me off, but I dutifully wrote and disputed the account with each one of the three reporting agencies, and it was removed. My mortgage then went through without a problem.

 The statute of limitations for collecting old debt is seven years.

 My mother got a phone call this morning from the same collection agency I’d sent the certified letter to, telling her to have me call them immediately. She called me at work in a little bit of a panic, and I called. As I suspected, AT&T had turned the account over to collections again.

 I told the woman on the phone that they were not to contact me any longer, that it had been paid seven years ago, and that further attempts to collect on this debt would result in legal action. I informed her that I had successfully disputed the account on my credit reports. Her response? It was about to be reported on my credit reports.

 I admit I lost my temper a bit. I do feel a bit bad for that; I know the woman’s just doing a job, and that she doesn’t have any control over that. I try to remember this when I’m talking with customer service operators in general. They’re generally stuck with what their companies tell them to do. I could not help it.

 This, to me, looks like an attempt to revive a debt that would expire shortly on the seven year statute of limitations. It’s an attempt to collect a fee.

 I’m putting together the formal certified letters to the collection agency and to AT&T again. I’ll be pulling my credit reports before I apply for any major loans, which I don’t expect to do right away (since I’ve bought my house just this year, and my car is still fairly new). One more contact from any collection agency about this PAID bill will have me calling the family civil attorney (I’ve not done civil work since law school) to initiate legal action.

 As long as AT&T is the only provider that carries the iPhone, I will not have one. I refuse to do business with AT&T. I will continue to tell others about the lousy experience I have had with the company.

 Meanwhile, Verizon’s got better service where I live, and I do really like my BlackBerry. I’m okay with not having an iPhone. But they have permanently lost any business that I might have brought them.

The Best Laid Plans…

And it’s definitely a NaNo month…and that means that procrastination is rife in the air.

I fully meant to come home tonight and do some yardwork, throw in some laundry, and then sit down to get another couple thousand words written.

Of course, very little of that actually happened.

I thought I’d actually leave “on time”. “On time” would be the time the courthouse closes as opposed to the time I normally leave, which is something like an hour or two after that. Of course, that didn’t happen, since I needed to talk to a co-worker who was hung up in court. And still ended up with a work related phone call a moment or two after getting home. This isn’t unusual; I was just hoping I’d avoid it tonight.

I got in the car and got a phone call from Mom, who invited me out to dinner. My first thoughts were “well, there goes the yard work,” (which wasn’t a depressed thought at all…I hate mowing the yard) and “I need to eat, and that way I get to spend some time with Mom and Grandma. Yay for me!”

Dinner was good, and I enjoyed spending time with them, as usual. They helped me out a bit by pointing out things in the yard that I need to get done (because I really really do have a black thumb, and I don’t have a CLUE what to do with flowers and stuff. That’s the part of homeownership that I’m really clueless about.) And it was good. Dinner took longer than expected, but I’m really glad I went.

I finished putting away the Halloween decorations, and hung the wreaths that Mom gave me on the front doors. I fed the cat, loaded the dishwasher, and unloaded some stuff from the car from the kick-off party last night. (I was so tired when I pulled in last night that I grabbed all things that needed to come in the house and crashed, figuring I’d unload it later. The Urbana to Dayton haul is going to get old quick.)

My brother called on his drive home from work and wanted to talk. Hard to tell him no, since I haven’t talked to him much lately.

I changed my clothes and started a load of laundry. At this point, I figured that I might actually finish laundry before it was time to start it all over again.

And then I finally booted up the computer. And I’m here instead of writing. Thank goodness I’m ahead on word count.

It’s definitely November again, and now I REALLY have to go write. Hope all of you are getting better word count than I am.

And We’re Off!

I’m at a write-in at the moment, and have gotten 3400+ words towards my goal, putting me over 10K for the first draft of THE GRIMM LEGACY. The Kick Off event for the Dayton Area NaNoWriMo group is off to a strong start….several people out there are hitting it hard, typing like fiends, eating a lot of junk food (and normal food…we did try to make sure that everyone would have something somewhat nutritious to get us through the day), and giving away lots of door prizes and raffle prizes. We’ve made T-shirts for our own local group and taking donations from our participants to help with the costs of running the local events. Any and all profits above our costs will be donated to the official organization on behalf of the Dayton group! Woohoo! Words and raising money for a noble organization WAHOO!!

Anywho, life’s ramping up in a hurry around here. As usual, November means that the normal life crazy becomes life insanity. I’ve been stockpiling take out coupons, because I think we’re going to need them down the road. Everyone out there noveling remember this…a load of laundry will buzz about every 45 min to an hour…that’s prime writing time with a built in break! And clean socks to get you through the month!

And good thing to get us off and rolling in a hurry…I’ve got lots of cases going to trial this month in juvenile court, grand jury coming, and the holidays looming, as well as flowerbeds needing some work before winter, some winterizing being done to the house that needs done, and some other things on my plate as well.I’ve got a guest blog I’m still writing (will post where to find it when it’s ready) and working on both my NaNo project and a short story.

If you’re writing NaNo….keep your Butt In Chair, Hands On Keyboard. If you’re not writing NaNo…say a prayer, light a candle and wish us luck. We may need it!