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Confessions of a Crazy Bastard
20 most recent entries

Date:2009-10-08 21:38
Subject:Finished the first draft
Security:Public

The first draft of No Humans Involved is complete as of this morning. Thoughts about what I learned while writing it here.

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Date:2009-09-03 22:14
Subject:Yo, Melinda!
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I'd like to know your opinion of this piece by Paul Krugman.

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Date:2009-07-09 14:17
Subject:On writing as a habit
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So... I don't post here very often, because I don't even post on my main blog very often, and like my lovely wife recently posted, nothing much changes in my life. This is a long-winded way to mention that I have recently posted a new blog entry on making a habit of writing.

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Date:2009-05-19 08:05
Subject:A Word tip for fiction writers
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A colleague suggested that some of the Word tricks I use aren't as obvious to others as they are to me, and that I should share them with other writers. Toward that end, I've posted a "Lazy Writer" tip on my main blog. It is the first of what will undoubtedly be a series of... one. Like I said, lazy.

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Date:2009-05-01 08:00
Subject:On writing short stories
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Although I'm primarily interested in novels, I'm also learning to write short stories. On my main blog, I've posted part two of my series on how I do it. (Part one is here.)

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Date:2009-04-21 20:05
Subject:My name is Salvatore T. Falco, and I approved this message
Security:Public

If you enjoyed "Bringing up Bobby," please consider voting for it by visiting http://absentwillowreview.com/eca.

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Date:2009-04-16 07:04
Subject:My short story has been published
Security:Public

If you aren't one of the people who read, re-read, and then read it again as I got it ready for submission, you can read "Bringing up Bobby" at The Absent Willow Review. If you are one of those people, you can read it again.

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Date:2009-03-27 06:56
Subject:On writing short stories
Security:Public

Over on my other blog, I've started a two or three part series about developing a short story from "idea" to "manuscript." Part one is about generating and selecting the idea. If you write short fiction, why not mosey on over and join the conversation?

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Date:2009-03-09 09:23
Subject:And I love lasagna, too
Security:Public

Me: Christ, I hate Daylight Saving Time
My boss: And Mondays.
Me: Get the hell out of my office before we turn into a Garfield cartoon.

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Date:2009-02-12 09:58
Subject:How to destroy productivity in four words
Security:Public

"Let's have a meeting."

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Date:2009-02-10 17:56
Subject:Everything is better with zombies
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Including Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.

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Date:2009-01-29 16:53
Subject:At last, the day I've been preparing for has arrived...
Security:Public

Construction signs in Texas warn of the coming Zombie apocalypse.



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Date:2009-01-24 08:09
Subject:The joy of the acceptance letter
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I almost didn't read beyond, "Thank you for submitting your story for our consideration," because the next two words are inevitably, "I regret..." followed by a variation on "this story is not right for us."

But the next sentence was, "I am pleased to inform you that “Bringing Up Bobby” has been accepted and will appear in our April 16, 2009 issue of The Absent Willow Review."

Huzzah!

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Date:2009-01-16 22:55
Subject:The Vista plunge
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You ever hear how bad a movie is, but you go see it anyway and because it doesn't suck nearly as badly as you'd thought, you  end up liking it? That's kind of my attitude toward Vista. For a variety of reasons, I bought a new computer last week. Naturally, it came preloaded with Vista. Since wiping the hard drive and installing Windows XP would take more time than I wanted to spend if it wasn't necessary, I gave Vista a chance. Once I turned off the silly User Access Control, it was fine.

I still hate Word 2007, though. Hate it, hate it, hate it. I have to use it at work, but I'm sticking with 2003 at home.

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Date:2009-01-01 20:48
Subject:2008 in Review, 2009 in Preview
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2008 was, for me, a pretty good year. There were rough spots, as there always are, but no insurmountable problems presented themselves. So many good things happened that it would be difficult to list them all. But here are some memorable things, in no particular order...

  • The company I work for was acquired in July. Usually, corporate acquisitions result in chaos and anxiety. I managed to come out of it with a little more in my paycheck each week. Better, my boss and I together tackled the challenges that came our way. He got a promotion. I got more responsibility as well. No raise or greater authority yet, but that may come.
  • At last year's Sleuthfest, the agent I met with requested the first 30 pages of my novel, then the whole thing. While she ultimately decided not to represent me, the experience boosted my confidence.
  • Sweetie (aka the fabulous cous_cous ) gave me our economic stimulus check and said, "Why don't you use this to go to Murder in the Grove again?" Best. Sweetie. Ever.
  • My Dad visited for a few days and helped me set posts for a shaded picnic area in our back yard. Sweetie was thrilled to be able to grill outdoors on many a summer evening.
  • The aformentioned novel was a finalist in the 2008 Murder in the Grove Mystery Writer's Contest, and the agent I met with there also requested my full manuscript. I haven't heard from her yet, but she's known for taking a long time to respond, so I'm trying to be patient. Meanwhile, I also had another agent request a partial from a blind query. So it's got some legs.
  • I had my first profitable year of playing poker since I started keeping records. True, I only made about $10, but it beats a loss, and I was only playing for penny stakes.
2009 already looks promising...
  • I started off the year with another winning poker session. My goal is to keep building my bankroll at the same penny tables I've been playing at. I want to take the time to build my skills while minimizing my risk.
  • I'm on track to eliminate all my consumer debt by the end of the year. Yes, I'm aware of the irony inherent in juxtaposing this bullet point with the previous one. I'm not gambling with money I need to pay my bills.
  • Sweetie's Christmas present to me was Sleuthfest 2009. Conference registration, hotel, rental car, all taken care of. Did I mention that she's the best sweetie ever? I'll meet with an agent there to pitch my novel.
  • After Sleuthfest, I'll get started on my next novel, a murder mystery with the working title No Humans Involved. I might have it done in time for the Florida Writer's Association conference in October. But if I don't, it won't be the end of the world.
I think it's going to be a great year. I'm even looking forward to going back to work tomorrow.

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Date:2008-12-16 11:44
Subject:Shut up (the inner critic) and write
Security:Public

I recently started writing reviews for my writer's group blog. Up until now, I've only reviewed books on creative writing, but this month's post is about an on-line course for writers called Defeating Self-Defeating Behaviors.

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Date:2008-12-09 22:09
Subject:Why copy editors are important
Security:Public

From an AP report about the decline in the percentage of cleared homicides comes this little tidbit:

Among the unsolved killings in Chicago is the 2003 drive-by shooting of 19-year-old Filmon Tesfai, an aspiring doctor who was gunned down two days before he left for the University of Illinois. (Emphasis mine).

Pretty impressive for a corpse to go to college. Unless they shipped his body to a lab at U of I for study, this sentence should read, "Tesfai...was gunned down two days before he was to have left for the University of Illinois."

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Date:2008-12-02 10:29
Subject:We're all horrified...
Security:Public

of course, by the fact that a crowd of shoppers trampled some poor bastard to death at a Wal-Mart last Friday. Most of the commentary I've seen is a variation of the same thing I thought: "How horrible that those shoppers were so greedy and uncaring." But Bitch, Ph.D. has an interesting take on the phenomenon. Crowds have a different psychology than individuals, and considerably more blame lies with the corporate practices that created the situation than with the people doing the trampling. That's not to say that the people actually in that mob should have guilt-free consciences, but yeah, there should be more outrage at Wal-Mart than we're seeing.

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Date:2008-11-30 18:55
Subject:Moaaaaaaannnnnn...
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51%

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Date:2008-11-28 19:52
Subject:About a pelican and a seagull
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cous_cous and I visited the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota this afternoon. One of Sweetie's favorite gardens, the high point for me is usually sitting beneath the bo tree. To most people, wind in the leaves of the bo tree sounds like rainfall. Raging egomaniac that I am, I think it sounds like applause. But the bo tree shades the bench beneath it and I knew that Sweetie would be cold there today. I suggested that we sit instead on the bench close to the water, which was in full sun.

It was peaceful there, looking out over the water. A few anhingas flew by, pelicans fished, and seagulls bobbed in the waves. Eventually, a particular pelican and a particular seagull attracted our interest. They sat on the water close to one another until the pelican took wing. He flew about twenty yards, climbed sharply, then banked and plunged into the water in search of fish. The moment he hit the water, the seagull lifted off, skimmed the surface of the water, and landed within a foot or two of the pelican. A minute or two later, the pelican again took off in search of something to eat. Climb, turn, dive. The seagull followed. We watched this sequence repeat itself almost a dozen times. I could imagine the dialog if these birds could talk:

Seagull: Hey. Whatcha got there?
Pelican: Nothing.
Seagull: Seriously. You gonna eat all of that?
Pelican: Yes. Go away.
Seagull: Because if you're not gonna eat it, I'll take it.
Pelican: Oh, brother.
Seagull: Hey, where you going? Hey, wait up! Hey! Did you get anything? Anything good?

I could have sat there forever watching, but there was more to see, so off we went. As we turned a corner, I sneaked a look over my shoulder. The pelican had just hit the water; the seagull was in flight.

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