I keep running into the same temporary roadblock: I know just how I want the book to begin, but the best words to present it are playing hide-and-seek with my brain. I’ll get it, but it’s going to take three or four tries, at least.
Witchery was that way. After I’d written the entire book I tried at least half a dozen beginnings before I had it satisfactory. Saving Atlantis was the same: took me many tries to get the beginning the way I wanted it. Prophecy of Honor, on the other hand, gave me no such trouble.
I’m also writing an erotic short story. I wrote about erotica two years ago, in July of 2019. I’ve published several of those things since, and have a fairly decent “following” of readers. I find it helps when I’m really in the mood to write, and have the time, that if the serious work is giving me trouble I can go to the erotic story and work on that. Sometimes one part on one of the WIPs (works in progress) will spark an idea or a solution for the other.
I’ve submitted two stories to publishers this week. One is a new one I finished a couple of weeks ago but had not yet submitted anywhere, titled “Will Not Yield.” It’s an odd piece that doesn’t really fit anywhere. It’s fantasy historical fiction—something like it might have happened sometime in Eurasia hundreds of years ago.
The other story is a reprint, “Guidelines,” to an Australian magazine that wants fantasy and science fiction.
My wife’s health changes gradually—very gradually, but it seems, inexorably—for the worse. It seems like every week she’s a bit more in pain and bit more immobile than the week before. Nothing to be done.
Her younger brother is worse off. He had triple by-pass surgery days ago and expects to die. The rest of the family, from what I can gather third hand through my wife’s conversations with her sister, seems to have no expectations one way or the other. We may have to fly to Colorado on short notice. Neither of us has the REAL ID driver’s license and I can’t find our birth certificates. We had them a few years ago when we went to Florida, but now I can’t find them. I haven’t quit looking yet, but I’ve eliminated all the places they should be.
I finished Stephen King’s novel, Cell. It’s okay, but not much more than that, from my POV. I’ll give it to the library here in a week or two and if you want to try it out, it’ll be there. I’ve taken up an old paperback, Bran Mac Morn by Robert E. Howard. Howard is the creator of Conan, and Kull, Solomon Kane, and others. Next up will be a re-read of…something. Don’t know what, yet.
Another thing concerning reading: While exploring possible publishers for my short stories, I found this: June Statistics - by palisatrium - Short Story (substack.com). When you get to that site, scroll down to “Free Online Short Stories”. There are some real gems there by excellent authors, like Hemingway, Harlan Ellison, Rudyard Kipling, Jack London, Edgar Allen Poe, and others. Excellent short stories, some of them classics.
One of those stories, “Flowers for Algernon” was adapted to a film titled “Charly.” Actor Cliff Robertson won an Academy Award for the picture.
OK, I’ll confess that sometimes I’m absent-minded in a specific way that’s worth a real eye-roll. Three times in the last several years I’ve locked my key in the truck, and every time it’s because of the weather—either raining or snowing. The last time was two days ago, Thursday. When I got to work it was raining hard. So I parked the truck , turned off the headlights, turned off the wipers, brought the umbrella across, opened the car door and concentrated on getting the umbrella open over the open door, then climbed out with my lunch bag and locked and closed the door.
Notice what I didn’t do?
When I got inside and put my hand in my pocket I realized I’d left the key in the ignition. No biggy. I live close enough to work that I would just walk home, get the other key, and get my wife into the other car and she could take me to work.
When I left at noon and walked to the truck to make sure the key was still there, it became a biggy. I hadn’t shut the engine off, either. It had been idling there on that hot day for over six hours.
I decided right then that walking home and driving back (forget getting the wife to drive me) would take too long. I had no idea what kind of shape that engine would be in. Fortunately, one of the managers came back from lunch and very kindly offered to drive me home and back.
Here's the weird thing: The temperature gauge wasn’t even halfway to the H. I expected it to be sitting on the H with a red light flashing. Whew!
I think I’ll keep the extra key in my lunch bag in the future.
One other thing on a totally different subject. You’re probably familiar with straight-leg situps and bent-leg situps. Just by chance I discovered “air-leg” situps.
Sit at the end of your bed, or at the end of an exercise bench, then lie back so you’re lying on the bench with your feet on the floor. Then extend your lower legs out straight so that you’re horizontal, head to toe.
Cross your arms on your chest. Keeping your legs straight, do a situp. Then another and another, as many as you can, all the time keeping your legs horizontal. You’ll find it really gets your mid and upper abs. You can do this any time you have a few minutes right on the end of your bed.
After you get to the point you’re comfortable doing at least ten, you might add a twist to left and right with the situp, to exercise your obliques. Plus, of course, you exercise your quads a little by keeping your lower legs horizontal through the whole set.
And that’s it for this time. As always, please read.