Curious Rat



My 2014

In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been pretty light with the posts around here. This isn’t an apology or a re-declaration of dedication. My attention has simply been elsewhere.

2014 has been a big year. A crazy year. I became a father. I finished my third and most ambitious novel in as many years. I started a new podcast (which comes back in January). It was a year of creation in every sense of the word.

Four and a half months ago, a small annex of my brain was unlocked. Behind the door lived empathy and patience, and for years I kept them hidden away. I fed them scraps of attention when I remembered, and for a long time, I thought they’d starved to death. They were my flowers in the attic. Then Cyrus was born.

He’s the only person in my life, other than my wife, who makes me want to pull myself out of my lonely little corner of the world and be of it, not simply near it. I love seeing the lights in his wide eyes when I hold him up in front of the Christmas tree, the tiny embers flickering like headlights on a dark highway. His limbs flail with excitement that has nowhere else to go. There’s so much I want to share with him. Everything is new and strange and exciting. Textures are for touching and tasting. His senses are just waking. He doesn’t know what chocolate tastes like yet.

And that laugh. He has a rich laugh. It’s a laugh I wish I remembered having. It doesn’t happen at the expense of another person’s suffering. It isn’t ironic. There’s no ulterior motive. He laughs because his mommy is tickling him. Because we’re making faces. Because daddy’s home. Because he’s happy. I may write a dozen books, and maybe one day I’ll be lucky enough to win an award. None of it will matter. Nothing equals the indescribable joy I feel when I get my son to giggle.

And speaking of writing, I’ve done quite a bit of it over this past year. Over 70,000 words worth, the majority of which culminated in my third novel, LUMINOUS. I’ve begun querying it to literary agents and my hope is that this is the book that will land me my agent. This will make 2015 my publication year (or at least put me on a path to publication by early 2016). I couldn’t be more proud of the book and, more importantly, of how far I’ve come in three years of writing fiction.

Don’t get me wrong. I still feel woefully inadequate and delusional whenever I read my own writing. Publication? Psh, that’s for real writers. I recently went back and read a little of my first book and thought, This would make a better fire than fireside read, but that’s the thing about first novels—you can’t write your second (or third) if you don’t write the first.

Part of my writing growth came from the simple act of actually writing. Writing more, to be precise, but reading also played a large part. I read far more this year than in previous years, making sure I always had a new book to take the place of the old as soon as the back cover met the last page. Thirteen books. Hardly a dimple in a golf ball compared to others, but my time is limited and when I’m not reading, I’m spending time with my family, or writing, or working, or binge watching a show on Netflix. I’m hoping to increase this amount in 2015 by limiting how much I watch on television.

So, what’s in store for yours truly for next year? My goals reside among the clouds. First (and most important), I’m determined to find an agent for LUMINOUS and, ultimately, my writing career. I’ve only just started the query process, but I honestly believe this will be the book that, in one form or another, will end up on shelves either this year or next. I’m also in the beginning stages of a new novel, one far more complicated than the last, that centers on four main characters and four points of view. I anticipate a lengthy outlining process, complete with character sketches and other preliminary miscellany before any of the actual prose is written. Oh, and I’m almost certain the first draft will be handwritten.

I’m also hoping to take COVERED to the next level, with more guests and more great books and maybe even a sponsorship or two. I’ve been thinking of pitching the show to an up-and-coming company called Mailkimp—heard of it?

As for this little hole in the web, I don’t know. I don’t blog much these days. My writing tends to veer more into the fictional side of things than blabbing over here, but I can’t bear to part with the old place just yet. My height is marked in notches on the door jamb. My handprints are in the concrete on the back porch. It’s not a tech blog. It’s not even a writing blog. It’s just…a slice of me I enjoy sharing. Thank you to those who still visit. I hope I’m not too much of a disappointment.

2014 has been huge. Great, even. A year I’m both sad and glad to see go. As much joy as it has brought into my life, I know even greater things are in-store for 2015 and I can’t wait to see what’s coming next.

Thanks for reading, and have a Happy New Year.


'It’s Your Opinion That Means Nothing' →

Stu Maschwitz:

Everything about a movie is someone else’s opinion.

You can’t “send the movie back” and ask for it to be hotter, or colder, or for Wonder Woman to be played by someone else, or for Loki to have horns on his helmet, or not. Or for fewer lens flares. Or a less spherical droid, or a differently-configured made-up laser sword. The movie is the movie, and it’s up to you to enjoy it. Everything about a movie is someone else’s opinion. If you’re not in the mood for that, don’t go.

[…]

Above I tried to trick you by saying “our reactions are our opinions,” but by my definition, that’s not true. You’re expressing your reaction when you say “I don’t like the lens flares.” You’re expressing your opinion when you say “there were too many lens flares.” See the difference?

This can be applied to so many things: movies, television shows, music, or even push notifications from Apple. It’s fine if you don’t like something. It’s your opinion on that something I don’t take seriously.


COVERED Episode 4: Brighton Walsh →

Harry talks with author Brighton Walsh about her New Adult novel, Caged in Winter, heroines in New Adult literature, reading only Twilight fan fiction during the drafting process, and how American Idol factors into CiW’s origin.


Chuck Wendig on Authorial Self-Hatred →

Chuck Wendig wrote a hilarious and poignant post on the self-doubt we face when creating something as daunting as a book:

And writing a book is a long process. Far more marathon than sprint. It’s easy to run a sprint. Hard-charge over a short distance? Sure. Can do! But a marathon, man — hell, the most I’ve ever run is two miles and to be honest with you, I often hit trouble at around the same times as I do with a novel (third, half, two-thirds). Writing a novel is tantamount to wandering a dark forest. You’ll always have those times when it feels like you can’t see the stars, that the thicket has grown too deep, that the way out will never be within sight. But then you keep wandering and — okay, sure, sometimes you get eaten by a GOBLIN BEAR because they can smell your fear-pee — eventually you push through the shadow and the bramble and there’s the way forward again.

It’s like he’s in my head. My drafting process is usually a progressive series of emotions:

  • This is great!
  • This is okay.
  • This sucks.
  • I suck.
  • Maybe it’s not that bad…
  • It’s pretty good.
  • It’s done and I kinda like it. Time to query!
  • TAKE AWAY MY PEN AND CUT MY HANDS OFF. I’M NOT WORTHY.
  • On to the next book!

Rinse, repeat.


COVERED Episode 3: Steph Post →

We’ve made it three whole episodes! In the latest, I talk with author Steph Post about her new “grit-lit” book, A TREE BORN CROOKED, growing up in rural Florida, the influences television and films have on her writing, and how she had the title for her book before a single word was written.