Tuesday, July 25, 2017

July 2017 newsletter

Howdy, ya’all! Welcome to the July newsletter, perhaps the last ever to be sent from Texas. So I’m fixin’ to include a bunch of Texas-isms.  In fact, I like to might could–

No. No, I quit. This travesty demeans us all.

Moving on . . . Here’s what’s in this month’s newsletter: 1. Bedtime stories. 2. Purple Unicorn. 3. Mini movies. 4. Organ watching. 5. More words. 6. Butler Pancakes.

Sounds great, right? Let’s jump in!

1. DECIDERS vote / Patronapalooza news : The purpose of last week’s poll was to determine what we should do for the upcoming Paronapalooza. For the benefit of the uninitiated, Patronapalooza is a week-long festival commemorating the gruesome life and hilarious death of Patronapaloozus, patron saint of patrons. The celebration will begin next Monday, July 31st. And in accordance with the wishes of the DECIDERS (and the wishes of my Facebook friends, who broke the tie), to honor our revered martyr next week I will . . .

Illustrate and post a bedtime story for every night. (At least one original drawing each.)
You may all celebrate in whatever fashion you desire– merriment, romance, feats of derring-do– or in whatever fashion is traditionally mandatory among your people. Good Patronapalooza to us all!
2. Story of the Month teaser : Two weeks from today (8/7), I get to share one of my favorite stories with you. It’s called “Best of All Possible Worlds,” and it was first published in an anthology of purple unicorn stories. (Not kidding.)

When a bizarre graffiti tag shows up on the wall of his run-down bus stop, awkward grad student Lem Daoud seizes the chance to finally chat up the hipster girl he’s been crushing on for months. But will she ever agree to go out with him after he accidentally stumbles onto the key to her deepest secret?
It’s a very fun and geeky little romantic comedy piece which has both lots of what I love about Boston and also some very cool fantastic elements. I love it.In fact, I love this story so much I just couldn’t leave it alone. So now I’m working on finishing the novel-length sequel. (Hopefully coming out next year.) This is one of the big projects that your patronage is supporting. So I hope you all enjoy this little taste of good things to come.

3. Movie (trailer) reviews : We didn’t make it to a theater this month, so instead I held a film festival right here on the family room couch. By which I mean I watched a bunch of trailers on my laptop, which I am now going to review. (Hey, this newsletter is free.)

Blade Runner 2049(trailer 4): Poor Harrison Ford. Doesn’t he get to be in anything besides sequels and remakes these days? What’s next? Son of the Fugitive? Air Force Two? What Lies Even Beneather? I did like the synthesizer in this at first-- a great nod to the original Vangelis masterpiece-- but after a while it just felt completely out of place amid the explodey action and jump cuts. PASS. But I am going to pick up the old soundtrack.

Justice League(trailer 2) : Good reminder to buy the Wonder Woman soundtrack, since she was by far the best part of this trailer. Next best: no Superman. (I’m not counting the super obvious hinting at the end.) Third best: Cyborg’s CGI didn’t look so ridiculous and cheap, mostly due to lack of footage. Absolute worst: Making me almost tolerate Bat Affleck as Benman. Also Worst: Not sure who the bad guys are, but they look a bit like a dark and gritty reimagining of either the hovering elephant ethnic stereotype from Phantom Menace or the winged monkeys from Wizard of Oz. HARD PASS. But it does make me want to watch Wonder Woman again.

The Inhumans: Love the giant pug. Big red wig looks silly. Promises lots of betrayal and drama and gossipy backstabbing. But will it be fun to watch? PASS.

Ready Player One: How much did it cost them to get the rights to all these IPs? I can’t even imagine. But this trailer makes me think it might be worth it– a glorious mishmash of a thousand pop culture touchstones, like a less-silly LEGO Movie. WATCH.

9/11: An R-rated September 11th disaster movie “based on actual events” starring Charlie “Bi-Winning” Sheen? Is this... Am I alive? Is this real? Am I dreaming? Can there be a person who thought this was a good idea? And did they really intersperse real video footage from the very day of terror itself? Taking ticket money to show people actual images of Americans being murdered on live TV, mixed in with quips from Mr. Tiger Blood? PASS. THEN SHOWER, REPENT SINS, PRAY FOR HUMANITY.

4. Life updates : This has been a really busy month at Chez Douleur. So busy I didn’t even get my newsletter done on time. (Also, this thing got crazy long somehow.) But I’m not going to point any fingers or give you any excuses, because it’s not fair to the baby. And also the buck stops here.Speaking of our little SeaBee, she’s been sleeping through the night most nights lately. What a good girl! What a great present to mommy and daddy. We had just about forgot what it was like to get six hours of sleep right in a row. (So sweet. Like fresh mangoes.) In honor of this wondrous miracle, here is a grateful haiku:

What is the sound of
Two parents napping? A snore?
Who knows– we were gone.
Earlier this month, we took a trip out to New Mexico and found ourselves a place, or at least a place to get started. My favorite thing about it is the view of the Organ Mountains, visible in all their glory from a great big window in my new office.

Not pictured: New office window.
I was so excited, I forgot to take pictures. So this one is from Wikipedia. But never fear, I’ll be taking plenty of my own. We may also have succeeded in selling our home here in Houston. (You never really know for sure until after the sale closes.) For now at least I am giving thanks that we no longer have to keep the house show-room ready all day, every day. Every single minute. Man, that was brutal. But it taught me two things. First, keeping our house really clean all the time is possible. It just takes discipline. Second, I hate discipline.I may have found a way to make it enjoyable, though. There’s a program / website / app / whatever called Habitica that I’ve been playing with for the last little while. It’s like a gamified personal organizer, where a pixelated little version of you levels up and gets treasure as you work your way through your chores. It’s definitely the most fun I’ve ever had with a to-do list. Plus, now I have a White Lion as a pet. Very cool. So let me know if you join up– we can start a guild!
5. Accountability : As the people who are supporting me as a writer, I think you’re entitled to know how I am doing. So last month I started tracking three things: new words written, new works completed, and new submissions to fiction markets. Comparing this month to last, I did better, the same, and worse, respectively. Not exactly flying colors, but I’ll take it.

  • Words: I got over 8,000 new words on the page this month, which is a little better than last month’s almost 7k. Now, I had wanted to double my productivity, but this is actually not a bad start considering all the time lost to moving and house-selling stuff. Plus, I had only four weeks in this reporting period instead of five. (I count from newsletter day to newsletter day.) So it’s actually a pretty substantial per-day improvement. (Up to 330-ish from 230-ish.) All in all, very happy with this improvement, and hope for even better next month.
  • Works completed: Despite putting lots of new words on the page, I only completed one new work– a new chapter of The Mundanes. Most of my fiction writing this month was actually expanding and revising Soul Invictus, the novel prologue / short story I thought was done last month. Ridiculous. And I am pretty sure I’m not done with it yet. But it just keeps getting better and better, so I guess I can’t complain too much. Next month will be better, but I’m happy this month not to be backsliding.
  • Submissions: This is where I let things slide. Last month I got 7 submissions out the door, and I wanted to improve on that. Instead, my count went down to 3. But if I’m lucky and get a little time this afternoon, I might could get that up a little higher by the end of the day. If so, I’ll put a little note in the comments.
  • FYI, I got three form rejections back this month, all of them from last month’s subs. My most recent ones are all still in the running. Fingers crossed. ^_^

  • 6. An invitation : Tonight (7/25) I am hosting a get-together from7-9 at Lola’s café for anyone interested in writing. It’s called BFD-Con, because in addition to talking shop about writing, we’re going to be eating Breakfast For Dinner. Nobody teaches, everybody learns, everybody buys their own pancakes. So it’s the same basic model as Utah’s IHOP-Con, pioneered by author and editor David J. Butler– who will be joining us tonight. If you’re in the area, please come on by. Everybody else, feel free to join us in spirit by eating breakfast foods and sharing some thoughts in the comment section here.
    Muchas gracias! As always, I want to finish this newsletter by thanking you all for the support (of all kinds) you so generously give. A month like this one could very well have swallowed up all my fiction writing time. I would have just written it off as an understandable loss, and wouldn’t have given it a second thought. But because of your patronage, I found the time to punch out 33 new pages in the last four weeks. Pages that might not exist without you.Much obliged, ya'all.–JDP
    PS - The answer to today's PhotoPuzzler (TM) is: Upstairs in his room, having a nap.

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