How to raise a Death Flag

“Barring any unforeseen RealLife consequences – as such happened last November– I’m feeling very good about this project.”  He said in hubris, in the post just below this one.

Our oldest dog had a nasty nosebleed last Tuesday.  Our local vet said to give him some diphenhydramine.  That worked for a week.  It was back on Monday; bad enough I’d to take him into Columbus to MedVet.  They did a CT and rhinoscopy; he has a tumor in his right nasal cavity.  We’ll find out by Monday if it’s malignant or not.*

Note to all writers out there:  never, EVER, say nor write what I did in that sentence on top of this post.  Don’t.

*It would almost be better if malignant, as it would be easier to treat with radiation than with surgery.


Only fourteen days left until NaNoWriMo begins.  About a week ago I finally dug out the script I’d written for what would have  been the webcomic, Poisoned Hearts, thinking I recalled it well enough to serve as a first chapter.


While I did recall most of it, the characters were already reforming in my mind for the new story; so, personalities are different, huge timing changes . . . at least the locations….    Nope:  I’d reimagined what the lab at Neuroi looks like, based upon my horror short.

So as it is, what was a first chapter of material is now a stack of notes for Cursed Hearts.  That still puts me miles ahead of where I started two years ago with The Fourth Law:  one mental image and a 20-second sound bite.  Barring any unforeseen RealLife consequences – as such happened last November – I’m feeling very good about this project.  Of course it’s tempting to actively make notes now, but I think that violates the spirit of the month-long challenge.  Dreaming, okay; notes, not so much.

My other October project:  converting my father-in-law’s oral history into written history, has also not gone as well as I’d hoped.  Once I sat down to write all that I recalled as a framework for him to add onto, I realized just how much I’ve forgotten over the past ten years.  Sure, I can ‘see’ the images:  him and his cavalry detachment caught in the second floor of a Polish cheese factory when a Red Army platoon motors up.  Him in a AVO prison, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs to his right and a 2-star general to his left.  I think I shall reallocate this to January, when it’s dark and cold and we’re all inside (December will be given over to editing then publishing Cursed Hearts by Christmas).

Not much meat in this post, but that’s what happens when a writer is between project.  Expect things to get very interesting quite soon.  Cheers!


As Social as Medea

Which is to say, I’m not, really.  Even so, with the chance to get in “on the ground floor” of something new, I thought to give it a shot.

What with Twitter – which I never used – gone full SJW (never go full SJW; in fact, don’t do it at all…) and banning people across the political spectrum from Milo, to Instapundit, to Scott Adams, there is a free speech alternative, Gab.  I’m there as @machciv and my own name.  We shall see what develops….


I know what I’m doing for NaNoWriMo this year.  So, what do I do with October?

Ah.  From a tangential mention from my beloved wife, I’m going to spend October writing down the facts my father-in-law has told me over the past quarter century… WWII, the Hungarian Gulag, his escape in 1956.  It lends itself to a story, but I want the facts down before he dies, so he can check it.  Should take no more than two weeks.

You’ll be hard pressed to believe it when you see the raw data.

First Pass

Got the interior completed and uploaded last night.  More clumps of hair out this morning trying to get the front/back covers done.  At only 24 pages, there’s no ‘spine’ per se, so had to work around that.  Then, the primitive graphics program I was using decided it was done for the day.

The nice thing about flat-panel screens is they go much further once they’ve cleared the glass of the window.

*ahem*  After applying the typical IT solution (“Did you restart your computer?”), things were less bad.  Images formatted, converted, uploaded.  I’ve gone ahead and submitted them for review by CreateSpace, even though I’ve no blurb on the back cover, yet.  I want one of their proof copies in my hand:  until you’re holding a physical copy, you’ve no idea what stupid things you’ve screwed up (such as leaving page numbers out of my first novel; my then 11 year-old caught that one).

As always, I cannot thank Claudia Gadotti enough for her amazing illustrations.  Please go to her place and lavish her with commissions!

“HBD!” Adding text

Last night was crashing and burning:  came home hopped up on coffee (recall:  I’ve high blood pressure) to get things done on HBD!, only to be confronted with hysterical wife:  “my J-drama torrents won’t work!!”  An hour lost there, then another making dinner, I finally sit down to format some jpg’s to pdf’s . . . forgetting that twice 2700 pixels is not 1350, but, in fact, 5400.  Re-re-formatting everything, I do a trial upload at 2215.  All clear.  Time for bed.

Tonight, adding text.  As this is a book aimed at 2nd graders, I think there’s about 120 words, total.  This issue – ONCE AGAIN – is formatting:  my pages are set to ‘bleed-out’ on the edges, so when making text boxes, I have to guess where my perimeter is.  That’s been three tries so far.  I’d also some issues about ISBN’s, but would rather toss my desktop out my window than even think about discussing it.

Below the fold, a snapshot of page 17.  God bless Claudia Gadotti, my illustrator.  How she could reach into my mind from my poor, bare-bones description of my characters to make what she did . . . well, just wait until I’ve wrapped this all up in a couple of weeks.

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