Yes, I’ve written about this before. I hate writing in the summer. Why? Because it’s so damn hot, it just sucks the life out of me. All I want to do is drink and sleep, but it’s too hot to sleep. Yes, the house has AC, but it’s also over 300 years old, so it’s not exactly well insulated. All this, and the face-melting heat wave ended over a week ago!

So why am I writing about this again? For one reason – I have set myself some lofty goals for the month of August. For family reasons, I have taken the entire month off. Yes, I know it’s already the 5th. I wrote this last night and I don’t go back to work until September 3rd, so it’s basically a month. I have responsibilities (including 2 little kids at home 24/7) so it’s not going to be a writefest, but I will have significantly more writing time than normal. In order to keep myself working, I made a list. I’d like to share it with you all right now:

Neater than chicken scratch, but just barely.

Neater than chicken scratch, but just barely.

Since you probably can’t read that, I’ll be nice and type it:

  • Finish editing the damn submarine novel!

This one has been in process for a long time. I keep making changes, which is okay since that’s what editing is all about. Still, I’d love to get this out for beta so I can get to work on a final.

  • Finish editing Volume 3-Z, get to Mr. Editor, format and finish artwork

Self-explanatory. I had hoped to haveit done and the print version of Volumes 1-3 ready for the August 25th event at Middletown, CT (with a few authorly friends and the very cool folks of Books and Boos) but I think I may be taking too long. Maybe I’ll have it for the next event…

  • Finish the short stories that have been in process for far too long

Okay ,I have a lot of short stories unfinished, and some of them will probably stay that way. There are a handful that I’ve been pecking on through the summer, and i’d like to finish them this month. They are all at various stages (in process, first draft, mid-editing, etc.) and I think I can kick them all. They are (in no particular order): the Guangzhou one, the lake one, the one with Phil, the one at work, and the one with the tower. There are others, but these five are on my radar. (Obviously, I’m not one for naming stories until I’m done. It makes keeping a white board kind of difficult, but whatever…) Note: I managed to finish the first draft of the one with the tower last night after drafting this post. It still needs a lot of work, but it’s progress!

  • Finish Death +5

This is a weird story I’ve been working on for a bit that came out of a Facebook conversation. I separated this from the above goal because it’s longer than the rest. I’m not sure if it will end up a novella or a novelette, but it’s already pushing 10k so we’ll see. For those of you with an inner geek, yes the title is a D&D reference. It’s a working title only. I think.

  • Move my office

You might be thinking this is not exactly a writing goal, but it kind of is. I need a space that I can write more comfortably than the kitchen table, and I finally “acquired” a room that will be just for me. I’m looking forward to hanging hooks from the ceiling and painting the walls red with blood. Okay, I may be exaggerating a bit, but I do have some arranging to do.


  • Record some of the songs I’ve been writing.

Some of you know I’ve been playing music since I was a kid. Not many of you know that I pretty much have a recording studio in my soon-to-be renovated office. When I get stuck on a story, one of the things I’ll do is tinker with one of my instruments until I figure out where the story is going. I’ve written quite a few songs that way, and I have been wanting to record some for a while. Maybe this month I’ll find the time, but not at the expense of writing, so I’m not sure.

  • Start the next book

With all the writing goals above, this is a big maybe. I have a few started, mostly notes, plot lines, or maybe just ideas. If I manage to get through most of what’s above, I may start on my next big project. At the top of the list are the grandma’s house book, the afterlife book, the bank robbery book, Slaughter of the Chickens, or Return to Camp Hollybrook. This goal may wait until next month…

That’s not so bad, is it? Okay, you’re right…it’s an awful lot for someone who is horribly slow with writing. It’s even worse for someone who is horribly slow with writing AND hates writing in the summer. Call me a masochist, but I figure I can stand to kick myself in the ass a bit. Fingers crossed, I’ll come out of this most hated month of the year with something to be proud of…hopefully a few somethings. So there it is. If I can pull off 80% of the list, I give myself a reward. What should it be? Beer and video games? Good idea. I hereby take them away for the month of Aug–HA HA HA! Seriously? No. But maybe I’ll earn the pride that comes with a job well done. If I do that, then maybe there will be a few sales this fall. That’s the kind of reward I can live with… BONUS BURNING QUESTIONS! Q – Aren’t you a bit old for all this heavy metal stuff? I mean, you’ve got grey in your beard! A – Seriously? Aren’t you a bit…uhh…well, even though I couldn’t think of anything witty to write, I still think it’s a silly question. Yes, I have grey in my beard. Does it really come down to that? Is my choice in music a phase that should change once I have less pigment? For the record, I like pretty much all styles of music except country (no offense to country fans, it’s just not for me). And as far as the grey beard thing, let’s ask these guys, shall we?

Sure, there are plenty of others, but these three came to mind immediately...and then I got lazy.

Sure, there are plenty of others, but these three came to mind immediately… then I got lazy.

Q – What’s taking so long with the next book?

A – I already linked this above, but it doesn’t hurt to do it again. In the meantime, I’ve collected some of my short stories in Tales From The Underground Volume 1 and Volume 2. Volume 3-Z is coming soon (see list above). And, of course, if you haven’t read Stripped Q – What’s the best book ever? A – Doesn’t exist. There are too many incredible books to name just one. Q – Did you know–? A – No, believe it or not, I didn’t. Q – What the hell are you talking about? (DISCLAIMER: yes, I made this question up just as an excuse to share this little anecdote. The did you know–? question is real.) A – Right. So a funny thing happened about a week ago. I sometimes check my stats here (not because of ego, but because I’m honestly interested in where people are reading from and what brings them to my little corner of the internet). I get a bunch of hits that I’d expect, but when I got a hit from someone who Googled “Camp Hollybrook” I found that incredibly odd. The book isn’t out yet, so the only way someone would know about it is if they’ve already been reading my ramblings here or on Facebook. So I did what any of you would have done (and something I should have done a long time ago…like when I first named it). I Googled Camp Hollybrook. Turns out there was a Camp Hollybrook that closed a number of years ago. Not a big deal, but here’s the interesting part: I set my book in South Jersey and based it very loosely on a camp I used to go to during the summer. The Camp Hollybrook that came up in my search was a camp…in South Jersey…just a county over from where I grew up. How weird is that? A couple people suggested that I might have heard of it when I was a kid and just forgot, but the place closed down before I was old enough to go camping. I’ll just chalk this one up to damn weird.