Thursday, September 11, 2008

Chance for the Future Release Moved

In an earlier post, I was lamenting my publishing delays. Well, I thought I'd post a little update.

My editor contacted me today, apologized for being behind schedule (I think all publishers are perpetually behind schedule) and informed me that we're looking at a probable February 2009 release date for "Chance for the Future" in hard cover.

So I'm told the cover will come back shortly and I'll get to see it when it comes in. And galleys should come to me sometime in October for me to review.

The other book schedules will probably also shift but he also tells me he'll get me a new schedule over the weekend.

So good news comes to those who wait!

September 11

Well, here it is. Seven years since the attacks on the World Trade Center, The Pentagon and what would have presumably been the White House (or some other part of Washington DC), if not for some brave Americans.

I wanted to say something of note but, over the years, I think most of what I would have said has been said.

The only addition I would make is that we should not forget, especially during this time of election, what kind of world it is out there. We have our cushy jobs and our happy homes but many of us rarely leave the enclave of our immediate neighborhood. But the world beyond is not safe and it is possible that it can and will intrude on our charmed lives.

Do not forget the events of September 11, 2001. Do not forget that there are still those out there who wish to do Americans harm for no other reason than because of their nationality.

And do not forget that making the world a better place starts at home. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Love your neighbor as yourself. Give and it shall be given.

As for more words concerning 9/11, I got nuthin.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Stressy Stress Stressington

So I was telling Lori last night that I don't think I've ever experienced the level of stress in as many simultaneous places as I'm experiencing right now. I know it's been awhile since I've posted much of consequence regarding what's going on with us. Most of my recent posts have been about writing updates. It's been somewhat superficial or it hasn't been there are all. And Lori's posts have been even fewer and farther between.

I want to make it clear that I am not writing this post to air the family dirty laundry either. I'm going to be vague where I can but I need to get some things off my chest and out of my mind. So here are just a few areas of my life that are giving me stress.

On The Work Front
Basically it comes down to the increase in gas prices, but we've had a few layoffs at work. I was going to say "minor" layoffs but I'm sure the folks getting the axe wouldn't consider them minor. My heart goes out for them at the same time I breathe my own sigh of relief. Morale isn't that great but at least they're telling us they're done "trimming the fat." A lot of people have left on their own as well in the past year or so. In fact, there are only a handful of folks left who were here when I started. I'm sure I could get more elsewhere with my talent/skills/experience. But I sorta like being downtown. I walk to work these days so I save gas, wear-and-tear on the Mustang, I lose weight and I read while I walk. I get home at a decent time and that means I have time to accomplish some of the other things we want to do. It's a pretty nice lifestyle and I don't really want to trade it for a two hour a day (or more) commute.

The Expanding Family
Lori and I have now told our respective families so I think it's fair to announce that we are expecting another child. A momentous occasion, to be sure. We're praying for a boy since we've already got our little Melody and we probably won't try for another. Already, the nausea has started. Lori's been calling around for a doctor and we're now remembering all the things we hate about the medical profession/industry. But, at least God is giving us a new little blessing!

The Big Investment
This section was gonna be a lot bigger and longer because it really is the source of most of my current stress. However, I realized after I wrote it that I was sharing far more information than I should on a public blog. Not only might I regret it later, Lori would probably give me all kinds of guff about finances and privacy. So, suffice it to say: Our housing situation isn't what we thought it was going to be going into it. The market has gone down considerably. Our options are limited. We're exploring them and praying for a positive outcome. Plenty enough info to explain why it's giving me stress.

A Chip Off The Old Block
Naturally, there's still stuff we want to do to the house. Unfortunately, we have to focus on the things that don't cost money because we don't have any. So our attention has shifted to what Lori calls the "Back 40" (I call it Death Valley because it's like a desert out there). It's the area out back behind the garage where we were originally going to build a unit. That plan has been scrapped, however. Right now it's nothing but dirt but we discovered that about a foot underneath a lot of the dirt is cement. So we've taken to clearing the dirt and exposing the cement. Sounds easy, huh? Well, it's not something you can just do with a shovel. Apparently, the previous owners used to drive over this dirt on the way out the back of the property (we've since put a fence in to cut off alley access). So it requires a pretty hefty pick axe and me doing my best John Henry impersonation to break the dirt up enough to shovel it into a wheel barrow and cart it off to an area of the yard that needs to be more level. Last night we finally finished clearing the first section but that took a good month and there's a lot more to go. The idea is to clear the cement, move our patio furniture back there (currently it's in front of our garage) and then we can park our cars side-by-side instead of stacking them. Lori wants to sod the remaining dirt areas but we'll probably have to settle for planting grass (since we don't have money). In the end, we'll probably have a nice little park in the back where Melody can run or maybe we can even put a dog if we can ever afford one.

This Little Girl
Speaking of our little princess: Her behavior is getting out of control. She's been moved around so much, including having her very own pink bedroom taken away from her, that she just fights us at every turn. The only times her behavior has been better was when she attended preschool for that short time in Los Alamitos and when she was in her various dance classes. So we think she's bored and she needs to be engaged by other children and with a firm authority figure in charge. She should probably be in preschool, but alas we can't afford to send her. "Free" preschools abound in our area but, even though I pay the taxes to fund them, apparently our one-income family makes too much money to actually have our daughter attend one. I'm sure there are plenty of children attending these preschools whose parents don't pay any taxes (or aren't even in this country legally) but I digress. So we're exploring our options. Hopefully, we can at least get her into some more Parks and Rec classes. Regardless, she's going to end up sharing the room she's in sooner than later since we're currently renting to room that was intended for her.

Re-Launching Launch Pad
If you read this blog at all (and I don't think anyone actually does), you'll have seen posts, mostly by Lori, about something we call Launch Pad. One of the things we did this summer to relieve some of our stress was break away from the church where we were leading worship. In place of that, we've turned our attention back to the ministry we felt God had called us to several years ago. Basically, it means getting away from a lot of the formal trappings of church and into something that more resembles the early church as seen in the book of Acts. What we envision is something one Saturday night of the month that is very much worship-centric with teaching on the side. Ultimately, we would like it to have its own building and maybe go to a weekly format. The idea at that point would basically be a sort of worship night club where freedom is the order of the day and worshiping God would be the primary purpose. For now, we've cleaned up our basement, moved our worship gear down and set up a few chairs. We're hoping to start it as a sort of worship-centric Bible study and see where it goes from there. We've even written some original material that I think we're both fairly proud of. I would hold it up lyrically, musically and melodically to anything being done in modern worship. But we need a band. Ideally, we want a drummer and a guitar player. We want our band to be good. Tight. Able to improvise. We don't have to be rock stars and we don't need guitar heroes or drumstick wizards necessarily either. But we need to have a tight band that sounds good if we want to glorify God with music. So we're praying and seeking for band-mates who will share the Launch Pad vision.

Books, Books Everywhere But Not A One To Read
When I was a single Art Director in Colorado, I chose to publish my own works because I knew I could do as good a job as the "professionals." Now that I'm married with a kid and another on the way, I don't want to spend what little time I have for my writing on cover design and typesetting. That's why I was excited when Blademaster Press chose to pick up my three (existing) Fairlight novels (I'd still like to write more), "One of the Girls" and my first nonfiction book, "Zooming Thru Life." Blademaster is a very small press out of Las Vegas, Nevada. I know the primary guy has suffered some setbacks over the past year and believe me, I can sympathize. Unfortunately, the scheduling has also suffered for a variety of reasons. CFTF was supposed to see hard cover release this month. It will not. To be honest, I never really cared if these books came out in hard cover. In my opinion, they're really just fun, adventuresome quick-reads that are best suited to mass market paperbacks. But I'm happy for them to see publication in whatever format my publisher sees fit. I still believe Blademaster will publish my work. But since I haven't received an updated scheudle, the question seems to be "When?" I'm sure I'll hear from them soon.

The Write Stuff
Still, I continue to peck away at the latest novel. I'll probably be finishing up Chapter 22 tonight. I think I figured it to be 29 or 30 chapters. So I'm closing in on the finale. Once that's done, I'm going to go back through it with a red pen and sharpen it up some. The story was started in 2004 and it's now 2008. Normally, even with work and all of the other diversions, I can complete a novel in about a year. But with all our moves and life events over the past four years... well, this novel has been started, stopped and re-started so many times, I've lost count. So I want to take a little extra time and make sure the spark of life is in there.

On The Run Again
As always, I'm still working on losing weight. Lori had really come down before I went and got her pregnant so she's in great shape going into this. Me? I still need some work, so, in addition to walking a mile each way to and from work, I'm running two miles a night, four nights a week until I can work my way back up to three miles. It's my goal to be down close to where I want to be by the time our little boy pops onto the scene.

So, as you can see, the stress is building as we close out summer and head into the holidays. All of this, and I still haven't had a chance to see "The Dark Knight." Oh well, at least I got to see "Indiana Jones" and, despite what a lot of online geeks are saying, I loved it!