Stranger on a Train XXIV

A day of surprises.

Started a brief gig today without knowing a lot of the details. This is why I’m on the last train out of DC and into Virginia. On the train at 6:15 this morning to clock in. Heading home, I’ll get off this train at 8.

That is what you call a long day.

How was the first day? Truth be told, I don’t know. I’ve become a lousy judge of progress in the workplace considering my last few gigs. As far as I know, I did well. This commute is a mess though. I’ve been looking for jobs in DC, sure, but this felt a little outrageous. 90 minutes one way?

It’s only for three weeks. I’ll manage.

I think, in the social media/digital team, I’m the oldest. I am fascinated by the willingness of these interactive marketers to work well into the night. Clock in at 9, take your lunch at the desk, leave whenever. Seven. Eight. It’s all good.

Maybe I’m of a different mindset. When your job becomes your life, it’s going to affect you. Right?

Then again, I think about the extra hours I put into Bloodshot, into Dawn’s Early Light, into all my fiction…it’s about the passion. Doing what you love. Giving it your all. That I can understand.

The last surprise of the day — I watched John Hodgman from The Daily Show post on Instagram today. I walked right by him, and I even did a double take. The things you see in DC when the government is in timeout…

Would have loved to shake your hand, Big J…but I had a train to catch.

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Stranger on a Train XXIII

I was planning to nap, but my brain really won’t power down. I blame NASA and this incredible photo of Christina Hendricks I saw Facebook.

It still blows my mind that we are on Mars. Again. This time, using a means of entry that resembled something the Coyote (Eatibus Anythingibus) purchased from ACME in order to catch the Road Runner (Hotrodius Diggus-Outtus). When I saw the animation on how they were going to get Curiosity on the Red Planet, I thought “That’s nuts!”

Put one in the WIN column for Super-Geniuses.

This week Pip and I head for New Orleans. Not necessarily planned, this trip; but then again, 2012 hasn’t really gone to plan. I feel very much in transit, particularly with other friends hitting crossroads in life. Things could be worse, sure, but if you were to ask me to describe the year in a word: uncertain. I don’t know what it is about this year, but there it is in a nutshell.

NASA however taught me last night a whole new degree of uncertainty. Think about it: The reason (okay, ONE reason) they went nuts early this morning was on account of uncertainty. Beyond the insane amount of time and precision in the entry, there was the fact that Curiosity would get to Mars and fail hard. A camera could have jostled out of whack, a board could have failed on touchdown — even if you got redundancies in place, a thousand and one things could go wrong, and still you have to worry about that other variable that could make it one thousand and two. NASA faced their uncertainty with incredible resolve, and now we’re back on Mars with a probe that is state-of-the-art and ready to rumble in the Red.

This is what we all have to do: face it. Face it head on. We do that, and we will come out the other side. Stronger. Wiser. Ready for more.

If you were expecting the shot of Christina, that’s on my Facebook page. This one’s for NASA.

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Stranger on a Train XX

I don’t believe in coincidence.

I do believe in God.

And this morning, I got a talking to through the radio…

And when you wake up in the morning 
With your head on fire 
And your eyes too bloody to see 
Go on and cry in your coffee 
But don’t come bitchin’ to me 

Because you had to be a big shot, didn’t ya
You had to open up your mouth 
You had to be a big shot, didn’t ya, 
All your friends were so knocked out 
You had to have the last word, last night 
You know what everything’s about 
You had to have a white hot spotlight 
You had to be a big shot last night

Billy Joel. Pre-Uptown Girl. Shit don’t get more real than that. Thanks, God. I needed that.

See, last night I got what had to be the weirdest, most conflicted feedback I’ve ever received on any of my endeavors. In turn, I’m feeling conflicted about it. It all comes on the heels of a tiny rant I had concerning The Janus Affair book trailer. Yeah, I know — you’re probably think I’m obsessing over it, and maybe I am. A bit. Look, the point is I got this complete curveball right before hitting the sack and I’m asking myself “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?” even the following morning. There’s a bigger blogpost in here, I think, for another time; but there is a lesson learned here: Be careful what you wish for.

Sometimes, being a Big Shot isn’t easy.

This isn’t a rallying of the troops, mind you. It’s been a week, safe to say; but I got a groove with By Dawn’s Early Light and an audiobook in the can. As the conductor just said, I’ll just sit back and enjoy the ride.

 

Stranger on a Train XIX

Heading home…finally.

Yeah, today was rough. I’m snapping back from the weekend at the Steampunk World’s Fair. It was beastly getting up there, but coming home was a snap. Because of that cluster-fuck journey through traffic hell, I’m planning an EARLY departure for Balticon.It torques me slightly that I’ve got to work Thursday night, but it’s a job. I’d rather have a minor inconvenience than unemployment, and this job’s keeping everyone sane…well, everyone but me seeing as I’ve got two ACX titles awaiting production, a book trailer nearing completion (so close…), and Blogworld NY looming in the distance. How did things get so overbooked?!

Oh yeah. Unemployment. Feast or famine, right?

So, in eight days, The Janus Affair happens. It feels completely different as Pip and I had copies of the book waiting for us at SPWF as giveaways. I have no clue if those attendees (some who knew us from both the book and the podcasts) really grasped that they were getting free copies of the book before its release but there you go. Harper Voyager, it feels, has an entirely different attitude about this title. Are their hopes up? Are they thinking this could be a breakaway title? Who knows…

We sure don’t.

What we do know is that our book trailer is closing in on completion, we got Balticon closing in fast, and I’m trying to keep everything on track. All this, and I have two books to get cracking on. (Writing, I mean…not the ACX titles…)

And technically, Summer still hasn’t even begun. Hoo-boy.

The event this weekend was good fun. Pip and I shopped and socialized. That P.J. Schnyder…what a dynamo. And this book? Yeah, I think the trailer does it justice.

You think I would have this “new book” thing down. I don’t. That fear before a launch — it never gets old.

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So Long, and Thanks for All the Tweets: My Final Friday at Intersections

Staying on track.You might have noticed a few enigmatic tweets from me on Friday. I got a few responses of concern but I was okay. Still am.

No, really, I’m good. January 6, 2012 was a date for the books so I’ll just go ahead and kick off this blogpost with what happened.

Somewhere around 10:15 a.m. last Friday, I was told my services at Intersections, Inc. was no longer needed.

If you’re expecting a complete and utter meltdown against my former day job, you’re not going to get it. Never will. I will only say this: Continue reading

A Crossroad Remembered

This weekend, Pip and I took off for a Valentine’s Day weekend. Instead of getting our lovey-dovey on today, we dropped off the Boom with grandparents, and enjoyed a quiet pre-Valentine’s Day weekend in Staunton, Virginia. If you are not familiar with Staunton, this is truly one of the crown jewels of Virginia’s crown. It is a fantastic town nestled within the Shenandoah Valley, just about 20-30 minutes away from my alma mater, James Madison University. Why I chose Staunton as our getaway weekend, though, wasn’t for its historic architecture, quiet setting, or quaint downtown shops. It was for The American Shakespeare Center.

You probably don’t think “Staunton, Virginia” when you think of William Shakespeare, but you should. The American Shakespeare Center (ASC) is located in downtown Staunton, and they manage the Blackfriars, the world’s only reproduction of Shakespeare’s indoor theatre. This weekend, the ASC was putting on The Comedy of Errors, a show that holds a very special place for me. As Pip had never seen a production of Comedy nor a show at the Blackfriars, I thought this would be a great opportunity. Better still, the Frederick House offered a Shakespeare Package that included tickets and a backstage tour. As you can see by the photos (click on them to view in full), the Blackfriars is gorgeous, and how you see the stage—even with the lights up—is how the ASC does Shakespeare. The show itself was tremendous, and Pip and I are still talking about it. The actors (including an old friend from JMU who is still performing with the company, I am proud to say) gave high energy with every line and every comic moment, making the less-than-two-hours traffic fly by. So yeah, when you think of Shakespeare, you should also think of Staunton, and you should make it a priority to catch a show here. It was a terrific choice Pip and I made, and we’re heading back to Staunton in May. (More on that trip to come…)

What I didn’t expect from this trip to the Blackfriars was a memory from the past, back when I was a professional actor and facing a tough call. Continue reading

My Story So Far…

“I’ve put this off for far too long” — Bilbo Baggins, The Fellowship of the Ring

This is something I’ve wanted to do for myself, for you all, and more importantly for my daughter whom you may hear me refer to here and elsewhere as Sonic Boom. I closed Comments on this entry as I think condolences and criticism people would express have already been made on Facebook, Twitter, and on my 5-word blogpost. If you have something to ask, something to share, or otherwise, it’s not like it’s hard to find me. I am visible on my respective networks once again, and my virtual door is open.

I’ll also tell you straight-up a motivation behind this posting has been the conjecture and criticism that others have expressed at both my expense, and at my daughter’s. As it is in a Community, there are a few that have been accusing me of not being up front, of misleading the Community, and taking advantage of the support and compassion I have been receiving over these past two months. Sure, you can’t have the positive without the negative, but this for them, too. “Put up or shut up,” you say? Gladly.

I don’t consider this blogpost “total transparency” because even with my love of Social Media I still believe some things are best kept private. This post is my perspective on a relationship spanning over ten years that took an unexpected turn and then came to a tragic end. No mudslinging. No ugly, sordid details. This will be my story, from the beginning.

I hope you will take a moment to read it. Continue reading

Show #042: On Writing Demands and Real Life (with Scott Sigler)

Finally, after all these years, the F.D.O. joins me in the foxhole
for an interview…

About to wrap up his second Stank Tour, New York Times Bestselling Author and Failed Pimp, Scott Sigler, joins me on the Survival Guide to talk about something near and dear to us both: Facing the Challenges of Real Life. While the topic has been touched on once or twice here in Boot Camp, this time I take a look at dealing with the demands of delivery while coping with real life situations; and as many of the Junkies know, Scott had a rough-and-tumble 2008 as well. Here he comes — the Force of Nature that is Sigglerisimo.

00:00 — Creatures & Crooks promo

01:47 — Introduction

07:20 — On Writing Demands and Real Life (with Scott Sigler)

  • Three years of podcasting novels
  • Scott takes his own advice
  • Scott talks a bit about how Contagious his latest work is!
  • Scott’s epic journey, Nocturnal
  • How Scott and The Sarge are working through Real Life Demands…
    • Pushing out a novel in record time
    • Making the priorities
    • “2008 was one thing after another…” — Scott Sigler
  • How do you continue to produce through the dark times?

28:08 — Promos: In Your Right Mind, The Brain Science Podcast

30:03 — On Writing Demands and Real Life (Part II)

  • Guest Bumper: Kimi Alexandre
  • Details on “Books & Bling” at Creatures & Crooks in Richmond, VA
  • Allowing your work to be your escape and your focus
  • Dealing with aggressive fans and negative reactions
  • The Two Kinds of “Fans”
  • Setting Priorities (Revisited)
  • Connecting with the fans and meeting expectations
  • Keeping up with the deadlines, staff turnovers, publishing politics, and your sanity

54:43 — Wrapping Up