Journal Entry: Wednesday, June 27th

Okay, no meeting yesterday, but by casual email it was officially announced that my boss, our Team Lead, is going to be Acting Branch Manager (that is, he’s stepping into the shoes of his previous boss) until a permanent replacement is found. In addition, he’s going to be interviewing for the position.

Admittedly, I haven’t worked for that many bosses in my time, but from what I have seen, I’m just amazed by this guy’s style. I would love to see him in the permanent position (not least because he fully supports what I do, and some of my grand long-term ambitions). So, that’s definitely good news.

Are some people super sensitive to cumin? That’s my only explanation. I did use a lot more cumin than usual in the latest batch of chili, but it was still nowhere near “so spicy that you can only taste the spice, not the meat or other flavors.” That’s how T– put it. I had the leftovers yesterday, and I still don’t get it.

I also, yesterday, wrote out today’s scene for SK, which ended up over three times longer than my normal target for a daily post. That’s okay. I expect it’ll happen a lot between now and the end of the story. I’ve decided to write entire scenes in one sitting, instead of breaking them up in manageable blocks. It’s the sort of burst-productivity that you can only get over short periods, but I’m close to the end.

On that note, I keep thinking (and even saying), “I’m about ten pages from the end of the book.” Thing is, though…yesterday’s post alone was 10 pages. And I’ve got at least six more like that. So I guess there’s more to it than I realize. Maybe after editing it’ll be 10 pages total, but that’s still a long way off.

I’ve been listening almost exclusively to hip hop music as I’ve been writing Josh’s story (the first book of Sleeping Kings). Also, incidentally, Josh’s character has already claimed to be a hip-hop fan. We’ll learn tomorrow that he’s got a Luda Kris ring tone. It works well with his character.

Sarah’s character (the focus of the next book), isn’t likely to be a big hip-hop fan. I’m thinking more country, and on that note, I’m considering switching all my stations to country music until I finish the second book. It’ll be a little bit brutal at first, but it’ll help me get thinking in the right direction (her approach to the world is radically different from Josh’s), and I’ll probably get accustomed to it pretty quickly. I listened to a lot of country back in high school….

In case you’re wondering, I’m thinking rat packers for Dave (I’ve actually already shown that in the story, with the whole crew singing along to “My Way” in his car), and probably classical music for Nate. Possibly contemporary christian stuff, like B– listens to. I’ll have to get him to play me some and see if it makes any sense to me.

Last night we met D– and K– and N– at Jason’s Deli for dinner, then the guys went for snowcones while the girls went to church. I got to keep the baby. After snowcones, I dropped off a couple movies at Blockbuster, and then D– and I went back to the house. The baby ate her cereal, then sorta flipped out. She went from perfectly happy (giggling and cooing) to just all out screaming in less than a minute, and we couldn’t get her to calm down for the rest of the night (until T– got her to fall asleep). That was pretty brutal.

I did go for a walk at 9:00, and D– tagged along. We spent the walk talking about story ideas for our project, and then got back to the house and kept talking about it for another hour and a half. I’m thinking it’ll take longer to get off the ground than he expects, so don’t let me get your expectations up for anything cool in the near future, but it will definitely be an exciting product when we get it going.

I firmly believe I can finish Josh’s story in the next week. I’ve got a plan. I just have to put in a couple hours a day. If I do that…what next? I talked to D– about that on my walk last night. I could roll straight into Sarah’s story, and keep SK going, but that’s going from the burst energy of finishing off a three year old novel, to starting from scratch at page one.

Alternately, I could finish up King Jason’s War. I’ve got…I dunno, 80% of it done. Maybe a little less in prose form, but I have such a detailed outline that that’s got to count for extra. There’s a chance I could keep up my pretense of self-control and get it finished by the end of the summer (before we’re scheduled to go into actual production mode on the project D– and I are working on). There would be a real psychological advantage to knowing I had three novels completed (even if just in rough draft form). On the other hand, KJW is no good as a first novel. I’m confident it will sell well once my world is established, and I’m in love with the story, but I wouldn’t want to try to pitch it anytime soon, and it seems like I should be focusing on more saleable stuff.

One of the things D– wanted to do, to try to build up the saleability (in the form of market interest) in our novel was to develop a lot of satellite short stories, involving interesting characters and events only loosely related to the plot of the main novel (or trilogy, or trilogies), but emphasizing the unique aspects of our setting. He’d intended all along for that to be a form of prewriting, for us to get to know the characters before starting on the real deal, so it would make a lot of sense to go ahead and invest myself in that, once Josh’s story is done.

On the other hand…it’s sort of a short window before I get actively involved in our joint project, and it sometimes feels like I should be closing out open projects, or maybe cranking out the easy opener stuff for Sarah’s story, so I’ll have a base to work on when I come back to it in a year or two….

This is the sort of stuff I spend my day thinking about. This, and rotary joints breaking down, and air conditioners that will fix corrosion problems, and doubling all my workload in order to maintain an Interactive Electronic Technical Manual parallel to extensive paper documentation…but all that stuff is boring. That’s my job. Count yourself lucky I mostly keep that stuff to myself.

Journal Entry: Tuesday, June 26th

Yes, I went for my walk last night. I did the longer route that I’d come up with, too. It still only took 45 minutes. I’m hoping to find a convenient route that’s right at an hour.

Hmmm…. I just read that Denise Richards is having a luau at the Playboy Mansion. That sounds like fun.

Yesterday I stopped on my way home from work to pick up D–, who’d lost his car key, only to discover when I got there that he’d found it. No big deal, I’d only been waiting five minutes or so, and I’d spent that writing the next scene of SK in my scribble book. But then when I went to leave, I discovered just how many people work there. It was fifteen minutes to get out of the parking lot.

T– made some delicious chicken fried rice for dinner. I’m glad she decided to experiment with that. I’m really enjoying it. Also, it’s another dish that makes for tasty leftovers.

We ran to Blockbuster while D– watched the baby, then I played some Civ while T– watched “According to Jim.” Or possibly According to Jim. I’m not sure about TV shows….

Then I went for my walk, like I said. I spent half of it praying, and covered a lot of ground. Then I spent the second half planning out the Lake Pontchartrain Bridge Massacre. Err…for Sleeping Kings, that is. It should be exciting. It is in my head, anyway.

Then I was in bed by ten. Good for me. This morning at work we’re supposed to have a Branch Meeting to cover the rumors I mentioned a couple weeks ago. I’ll let you know if I learn anything that I can legally reveal on the internet….

Journal Entry: Monday, June 25th

I made chili for dinner last night, which was delicious. T– and D– complained that it was too spicy, but I don’t get that. I’m not exactly good at predicting how spicy something will be, while making it, but I can usually tell exactly how spicy something is when I’m eating it. And last night’s chili was not particularly spicy, in my mind….

Anyway, no matter where you come down on that debate, all parties agreed that it was tasty. So yay. I really enjoy making my chili, and it always makes for at least one lunch of leftovers.

I made some salsa, too, for the party last Friday night, and we snacked on that some last night before dinner. It was fantastic. I spent all day planning to go home and eat some salsa, and then I did. It’s not often I follow through on my ambitions like that, but so rewarding when I do….

Okay, fine, speaking of that: I went for a walk again last night. That makes two in a row. If I can make a week, I’m going to buy some new shorts to celebrate. Here’s hoping.

I got home around 9:40, and I’ve decided to try to drink two full glasses of water after walking, so I stayed up to do that. And, while I was walking, I spent the whole time reviewing the rest of the plot of Sleeping Kings (or, specifically, the first book), and while I was drinking my water I decided I really needed to get some of those ideas written down.

So I wrote out a synopsis of the rest of the book, with target dates for each segment. It took over an hour, but when I was done…I think I have something that’s very doable, in a really reasonable timeframe.

Someone in Texas is reading Sleeping Kings. They started on page one last Friday. I’m guessing it’s either my aunt or N–‘s step-dad, but they haven’t left any comments yet so I don’t know for sure. Time will tell.

Journal Entry: Sunday, June 24th

Closer and closer….

My comment yesterday was, “hopefully I’ll get a couple more pages written.” All told, I got eleven pages done (T–‘s parents’ church is a kinda long-winded one). Most of it is mediocre stuff, but it gets me from where I am in the story, to where I want to be (where, hopefully, the quality will pick up as I write through the climax).

At this point, I know every single event that needs to happen between now and the end of the story. There may be a couple extra bits that present themselves for inclusion, but I’ve got, not just an outline, but the actual story in my head. I just need to write it down.

I’m getting a little bit ahead of myself, though.

Yesterday, after church, we had some amazing steaks. T– had agreed to give her mom some design advice for the relatively new house, so I knew we’d be sticking around for a while, so I took A–b– downstairs to watch some TV while we waited. We watched parts of Men in Black and that movie where Tim Allen and Kristie Brinkley go into hiding in an Amish community, and Hitch. I recommend the Will Smith ones, again.

That’s from past experience, though. Yesterday I didn’t really watch them. I fell asleep, with A–b– on my chest. I did a lot of napping this weekend. Apparently T–‘s parents both asked her at different times why I didn’t bring along a computer this time (I usually do, and then spend the whole weekend glued to it). Turns out leaving it at home didn’t make me any more social — I just ended up sleeping.

I did get a lot of good rest this weekend, though. Yay for that!

On the drive home, T– and I had an amazing conversation. One of the best conversations about us that we’ve had in years. I found it very encouraging.

When we got home, around eight, I dropped T– off to feed the baby, and ran up to Pizza Hut to pick up a couple P’zones, which were quite delicious. We watched some TV while we ate, and by the time the episode was over, it was already nine.

I’ve been telling myself for a week now that tonight I’m going to start going for a vigorous, exercisey walk every single night. I hadn’t followed through on it once. Then, during yesterday’s conversation, among a lot of other things, I told T– about that conviction in the hopes she could help hold me to it. So, last night, after eating way too much P’zone (it was really good), and only being in my home for an hour after a weekend away, I made myself spend the second hour home going for a walk, in spite of the excuses.

It was good, I’m glad I did. I think I did about a forty minute walk last night (my goal is closer to fifty, and probably at a significantly faster pace than I managed last night), and while I was walking, I put together all the pieces I was missing to finish Sleeping Kings. I discovered a couple extra scenes, a couple really strong plot twists that’ll make the impending battle a little less one-sided, I think. And I got some good exercise while I was at it.

Then I woke up this morning with incredibly sore legs. I’m going for a walk again tonight, anyway. It’s important enough to make time for. I get that.

Today’s been slow. Work is dull, and I’m only making progress at a snail’s pace. Around here, they just call that job security.

Hope everyone had a good weekend.