14 July 2012

Have you been there, done that summer blogging thing?

I promised myself I would not spend my summer apologizing for not blogging during the summer, yet here I am, apologizing for not keeping up the blogging during the summer. But summer, we all may agree, is that special time of the year when we can let such things go and not feel the slightest guilt. As I recently posted on my Facebook page (now there's a summer killer!), the world is not beating a path to my door demanding another blog entry from me anyway. And yet the nagging gnomes collect. Eventually they reach capacity and I must let them out regardless of the results. Let me apologize in advance for this post.

Since my day job ended (the school year, that is, not employment termination), I've been traveling around the country, not for inspiration, not for part-time summer employment, not to do charity work for the literacy disabled, but merely to help relieve the boredom of various friends and relatives. I have tried to wedge some writing in at each stop, and the glorious hours of highway driving lend me precious time to daydream and work through plot conundrums. I take those ideas and problems-solved to the mini-computer (i.e., my Netbook) each evening to be able to call myself a writer. I drag myself to bed--or a futon on the floor--with some satisfaction of having achieved something for the day.

Now I have returned to the home editing station and, working on the big screen and with the full-sized keyboard, I expect a fury of writing bravura to ensue in these final weeks of slothdom. You see, my day job begins earlier than most schools start at the end of the summer. Therefore, there is not much time left to complete my self-assigned projects from May. Progress, yes. Completion...meh, not yet. Once the school year begins, as one might imagine or have read in previous posts, not much of my personal writing gets done, swamped as I am with mountains of generally poorly written freshman essays and research papers of various topics. But academic life must go on. Call me Sisyphus.

My Summer Projects - Official Updates*

Let me update you on everything I dare to share. My main project was to be a thorough rewriting of my 1989 novel AIKO for Shelfstealers. That has progressed well, given the circumstances described above. I created three new opening chapters to establish the situation and major characters better, then returned to the old manuscript and have been bulldozing my way through it, adding richer description of the Japanese setting and deepening dialog sections with literary devices (the horror! yes, there will be metaphors). I have also dealt with the major headache of converting a 1st person narration to 3rd person. That fits the story better, I see now; for what happens, I need my protagonist to have some distance from...well, from me. I've completed through chapter 23, as of this blog post, but I will want to go back to, say, chapter 10 and run through them again before I call them done.

My erstwhile novel AFTER ILIUM underwent a rocky rebirth in early June due to really bizarre circumstances beyond my control. I eventually managed to republish it on Amazon as an ebook for Kindle all on my own--which was a very frustrating yet educating experience in attention-to-detail! Suffice to say, the rebirth has not made much difference in my fame or fortune. (Buy it here! Buy it here!) Despite being a "summer" book perfect for beach or poolside reading and easily downloaded for the beach or poolside Kindle device, it remains off the beaten track. Be aware that this newest Kindle version features the welcome demise of a handful of continuity errors (e.g., email one place, e-mail elsewhere) and a couple grammar glitches. Unfortunately, the ending is still the same (young man meets older woman on a cruise to Istanbul, yada yada yada....).

A BEAUTIFUL CHILL, my notorious literary campus anti-romance (former MFA thesis and ABNA 2011 entry), is undergoing rigorous editing at Shelfstealers--or so I hear. No blood-cuddling screams yet so it must not be too bad. Awaiting the amazing results in 2013!

THE DREAM LAND trilogy is never far from my mind--although I have successfully kept it out of my literary fiction for years now. Book I: Long Distance Voyager and Book II: Days of Futures Past are complete. I might asterisk Book II by admitting minor tweaking still goes on. Book III: Diaspora is under construction but it is slow going. I did pause working on AIKO to spend a weekend catching up. A strange dream that helped clarify a situation in the story pushed me to work on Book III for a short time. I think it could have sent me rolling through more of it were it not for my need to stay focused on Japanica for AIKO rather than allow myself to return through the tangent portal to the Sekuatean Empire. Plenty of time for Book III, of course, while the first two climb the remainder bin charts! (See more in the next paragraph.)

Furthermore, while driving around I had the idea of just going ahead and making THE DREAM LAND available as ebooks, now that I know how to do it myself. Traditional queries have been met with ignorance and found unworthy of even a snooty or terse rejection effort. Disappointing. Does anyone actually read a blurb? I got past the pitch stage of the ABNA 2012 competition, after all. That means my book is somebody's book! Who would not want to read a darkly humorous sci-fi/psychothriller mash-up involving interdimensional intrigue and world domination by a pair of high school science nerds? Anyway, that self-publishing still may occur in the fall, so get your Kindles ready! (Oh, wherefore art thou, Nook?)

* * *

That should bring you up to speed on both my cross-country travels and my literary journeys. If you have read this far, just think of how much writing you could have done during this time. Or the nap you missed. You can never rewind the clock or flip back the calendar, so choose how you spend your time wisely. Of course, some people just blog. Even in the summer. When they should be doing something important, something valuable, something enlightening--as have I.

Enjoy the remaining days...however they may fall!

(*) Anything you hear different would not be official.

(C) Copyright 2010-2012 by Stephen M. Swartz. All Rights Reserved. No part of this blog, whether text or image, may be used without me giving you written permission, except for brief excerpts that are accompanied by a link to this entire blog. Violators shall be written into novels as characters who are killed off. Serious violators shall be identified and dealt with according to the laws of the United States of America.

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