Present is Past

There are few things more influential on our lives than those early years between childhood and adulthood, those years when we become aware of the larger world even as we discover the things that thrill us and struggle with those that cause us pain.

When I look back there are a lot of things that stand out. Good things and bad. Excitement and dread. Venturing out and withdrawing.

Through it all, there was one thing rarely sullied by the drama that so often made a mess of everything else: Iowa Hawkeye football.

Maybe it’s just the forgiving lens of memory, but something about game day was sacred. We forgot about jobs, homework, and struggling marriages and we focused on football.

There was lots of yelling, but always at the TV. Especially at Michigan! There were smiles all around, cursing at bad plays, and food. The food! Mom made a potato salad as mean as any linebacker and dad could make that Weber grill serve up a T-Bone that sizzled like a ball thrown on a quick slant.

Now I’m [REDACTED] years older and things have changed. College, marriage, writing a novel, and becoming a Minnesota Gopher fan just scratches the surface. One of the constants through it all has been that fall Saturdays still hold a glimpse of that same naive wonder I used to feel as a child. Now, football season is the one time of year when I set my coveted writing Saturdays aside and make my way to campus, or sit down in front of the TV.

Especially this week. It’s Minnesota vs Iowa, with Floyd of Rosedale (#ProtectThePig!) and another year of bragging rights at stake.

This year my (not so) little brother and his wife are coming over. The poor kid is still an Iowa fan and while we may not agree on who should win, there will be smiles, curses, beer, food, and fun. And who knows, maybe there will even be some potato salad.

I’ll write on Sunday, when the Gophers are 5-0.

Terror in Synopsis-ville

It all started with a moment of terror.

There I was, having a pleasant email conversation with a Potential Editor, when I saw the dreaded word: synopsis.

This was one of those writerly tasks I had been avoiding like the plague, and who could blame me? No writer wants to take their 70-100k word baby and beat it down to 1-2 page shell of its former self. The mere thought- shudder!

I had thought that since I wasn’t looking for an agent I wouldn’t need one.

Silly little boy.

In retrospect, I guess I should have anticipated that an editor would want a synopsis for the same reasons an agent would. But I didn’t, and there I was, completely unprepared and panicking.

My first draft? 10 pages. Well, I could whittle that down, right? After all, I’d just cut 15-20k words out of my book. How hard could it be?

Next draft: 7 pages.

Ugh!

So I scrapped it all and came at it from another angle. 4 pages! And now, with just under 3, I’ve sent it away along with chapters 1 & 2 and we’ll see if I pass the interview.

Is my synopsis any good? Will Potential Editor read chapter 1 and toss it all in the trash?

Cross your fingers, folks. The indie publishing boat is pushing off from shore!

Of Booze, Gophers, and Editors

Wow – I can’t believe it’s been three weeks since my last blog!

Needless to say, there’s been a lot going on.

First there was this:

A nice little vacation on California’s Central Coast. Paso Robles, to be exact. If this were a wine blog I would go on and on, but suffice to say, this relatively unknown region is getting its groove on. If you’re looking for a place to go taste exceptional wine, and one that is well away from the overwrought crowds and bustle of Napa and Sonoma, then this is your place to go. Oh, and you want a lovely place to stay where you can wake up in the morning and look out onto the rolling, vine filled hills? Here you go.

YUM!

After vacation, I had a week off in between work assignments. During that week, there was cookies!

There was also quite a bit of plotting going on for To Kill the Goddess’s sequel, Moon Sister. That’s a crazy process. Lots of fits and starts, ideas explored, some discarded and others integrated. There’s also been a lot of tasks I wasn’t expecting, like the Dungeons & Dragons style maps I’ve been creating to help keep the locations of everything straight, the vast amounts of history that I’ve had to document, and the realization that some concepts that I had thought to be ironclad needed significant revision.

This brings us to last weekend – the start of Minnesota Golden Gopher football season!!


Three weeks in a row of home football games means lots of fun, sun, beer, and a gigantic chink in my writing schedule. But I’m cool with that. College football is one of the few guilty pleasures that I allow to interfere with my writing.

And this week? New work assignment. Lots of brain power focused on scoping and planning the new work project. But in between that I have spent a lot of time in my search for an editor for To Kill the Goddess. Let me just say,

UGH!!

Damn, that’s a difficult job. I never once thought that self-publishing would be easy, but until you’ve actually driven the road, it’s impossible to appreciate the potholes, twists, and turns. Selecting an editor is one of the most important tasks – outside of actually writing the book – that a self published author will have to face. And it’s frakking hard!

I’m sure this will get easier the second or third time around, but right now I feel like a little kid who got separated from his parents in the middle of a busy mall. There’s literally hundreds of editors out there – or at least people calling themselves an editor – and finding the right one is an intimidating task. After all, it’s only your entire writing career on the line, that and a good thousand plus dollars. A mistake here could be deadly, or at least a waste of a boatload of money. But the right choice? That could be magic.

So hang on, friends. The self-publishing ride has started.

I’ll keep you posted.