Richard, Where Are You?

I’ve not been around much.  And those of you on Twitter, Facebook and here have probably started to wonder where I have been.  I assure you I am fine.  I have just been very busy.  And a bit sidetracked with other things to get my weekly posts done.  As far as Facebook and Twitter go.  I guess I have just been quiet.  So here is what I have been doing:

Working.

Oh how I love and hate my day job at the same time.  The last two weeks I worked sixteen hours of overtime.  They have decided to unveil a new system at work, and I was chosen to be one of the trainers on this new system.  While the system will make one aspect of our job so much easier, it takes time to teach everyone.  Work already takes over 40 hours a week of my life.  It would be great to make my writing and editing my day job.

Plasma Frequency. 

Now here is one project I love to do.  But let me tell you how much work it takes.  Issue 4 has been one of our best and most highly read issues to date.  That is great news.  But the talent submitting to us has become so good that picking just eight to ten stories every two months has become very difficult.  Even my earlier reading editors are finding it harder to reject stories.  I think it is great to see so much talent coming to our magazine.  As a writer, I love to see other writers succeed.  As a business man, I love to see some of these big names seeing my publication as worthy of their work.  As an editor, well my work has become a lot harder.  For issue five I had to narrow down 25 great stories to just the eight that would fit in our issue.  That is hard work, and very time consuming.  I debated for a long time on many of those stories.

Speaking of Business.

I had two magazines approach my company, Plasma Spyglass, and ask if we would be interested in taking over their magazine’s production.  I won’t name the magazines, but I will say I think they are great publications.  So I had to make some tough business choices over the last few weeks.  While Plasma Spyglass does have every intention of putting out more magazines, I had not expected to do it so soon.  Plasma Frequency is not even one year old yet.  And for the time being we are going to focus on growing that publication first.  We still have the goal of advancing our pay rates to pro-rates, and I want to follow through on that.  Plus we have our year one anthology coming soon.  And we will be announcing more about that in Issue 5.  So much is going on, or about to go on, with Plasma Frequency that I had to pass on these other two great offers.  But don’t count us out.  I think Plasma Spyglass will be publishing a number of different publications by 2014.  And by 2018, I suspect we will be doing very well in the short fiction market place.

We do have plans for a charitable anthology coming soon.  Once I have heard back from the charitable organization, more details will come.  We are also considering many other great things.  So, needless to say business has taken up a lot of my time outside of work.

Writing.

Just last week I finally got more written into my next novel.  I plan to make an announcement on that one very soon.  The first draft should be completed by next week (fingers crossed).  After which I will begin rereading and editing.  And, I plan to contact a cover artist soon.  So I am thinking that I will announce the release date with the cover art in April.  Get ready for this one, it promises to be a great one.

Speaking of great books, the sales for Dissolution of Peace have faltered a bit.  I think this is because all of my great followers now own a copy.  So it is time I branch out and reach some new followers.  I am planning on doing a blog tour.  Perhaps in May?  Maybe sooner.  I would really love one in April.  But scheduling these things takes time (as I am am learning).  So I plan to get that underway soon.  Watch for more details on that.  Make sure to share some love with those blogs that host my tour.

Chores.

I thought I was a grown up now and work was my chore.  Well the front and back lawns seem to disagree.  There is a ton of yard work to do around here, and I get stuck doing it.  Some people love that stuff.  Time in the yard pulling weeds, mowing the grass, that is fun for them.  For me, not so much.  I’d much prefer to hire a landscaper and just admire how great it looks when they are done.  But writers can’t afford landscapers, and besides my wife would insist we got a maid first.

Family time.

My family and I don’t see each other much right now.  My wife works on the days I am off, and I work when she is off.  My hours don’t lend well to having school age kids, as I am at work all afternoon and evening when they are home.  When I get home, they are in bed.  So I have been trying to make some extra time for them around all this other madness.  I took my kids to their first professional hockey game, actually their first ever hockey game.  My middle child was so overly excited, it was a great thing to see.  Besides that, I try to make some time for TV, movies, and other activities with them.  Family is important.  More important than everything else I’ve listed here.  So I make time for them and I hope someday my kids will really appreciate the fact that their dad pursued his dream to publish novels.  I also hope that one day, I’ll make just enough money on my dream that I don’t have to “work” any more.  Ah, the good life.

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Missing in March

I need to start with an apology to my subscribers and regular blog readers.  You may have noticed I have broken my own rule on successful blogging.  Blog on regular schedule.  While I am sure none of you have been waiting to make life altering choices because of my lack of posts, I feel as though I have some how neglected my responsibilities here.  It’s not just here, I have not been very active on Twitter or Facebook either.

Frankly I hate this month.  I have seen a lot of commercials for Buffalo Wild Wings about “What month would you give up for more March?”  It makes me cringe just thinking about have to do March twice a year.  It seams I have terrible luck in this month.  Last year, I lost my job in March.  Years before that have been even worse.  Well, this year my own personal March madness continued (see even my puns are bad in March).

It started off well enough.  As some of you know from my previous posts, I started a new job.  It doesn’t make much but it gets me off unemployment.  Of course I started this job in February along with a move back to my hometown in Vacaville.  All great ways to end February and start off March.  Of course, they all led to me neglecting my blog.

In the middle of March, my wife’s employer decided to make a sudden drastic schedule change.  This caused me to have to beg and plead with my boss for a schedule change.  My employer was very understanding, unlike my wife’s, and they made the change.  Only three hours later, my wife tells me they changed the schedule again.  My wife asked to remain at the same schedule, but she’s the forth most senior dispatcher there and they wanted a senior person on each shift (four shifts).  Never mind the fact that the person she was switched with, didn’t want to switch (and is more senior than my wife).  Well we got through that.  My employer was understanding and made some more changes.

Things got better, because immediately following that I got to attend the wedding of a friend of mine.  They will be a great couple and the wedding was outstanding.  It was a lot of fun and I was very happy to share this event in their lives.  I extend my congratulations to Logan and Tessa Bryce.  I hope you enjoy life together.  There is no greater journey in life then marriage.

Right after that I attended my first San Jose Sharks regular season game.  I am a huge hockey fan, and an even bigger SanJose Sharks fan.  After so many years of wishing I could go, it was great to finally be able to go.  The arena is great and while we had great seats, there probably are not many bad seats at HP Pavilion.  I got to meet Randy Hahn and Brodie Brazil from Comcast Sportsnet.  I have been listening to Randy Hahn call Sharks games for as long as I can remember and to meet him was great.  Brodie Brazil is new to the CSN team, but he provides great rink side commentary and he is very interactive on Twitter.  So meeting them both was a great start to the game.  Everything about attending the game was great, accept the final score.

Left to Right: Brodie Brazil, Me, My wife, Randy Hahn

Two days later my wife started her new schedule after her days off.  The unnamed local ambulance company she works for did not schedule enough ambulances to adequately cover the area.  As a result an ambulance was late to a call.  And my wife was fired the next day.  She has not had an issue there for over nine months, but they were quick to terminate.  I can’t believe a company that puts “Family Values” on their letter head, would fire the main provider of a family of five on an issue that is ultimately their own fault.  This company has little regard for their employees and has created a hostile environment, in which most all mistakes result in suspension and/or termination.

In any case, her income was three quarters of our family income.  I don’t even make enough to pay the rent.  Fortunately quick thinking will likely help me keep a roof over our heads for the next few months.  But, we pray that either her union comes through for her (though that is not likely) or that unemployment kicks in quickly.  God willing, she will find work before this really matters.

As a result I have been trying to pick up extra hours at work.  I’ve also been burying myself in my office so that I can try to get this novel out for all of you.  And, hopefully if you folks like it, I can sell a few copies.  I also had a great idea for another story, with potential for novel length.  So with any luck you may see a few novels from me this year.  Of course, I prefer quality over quantity so we will see what other tricks life has in store for my timelines.

So, March is my least favorite month.  And despite my wife and my Irish heritage, we can can’t see to find the luck of the Irish.  They say when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.  But I am so sick of drinking lemonade (This cliche brought to you by Country Time Lemonade, which I am drinking as I write this).

But, while March is typically a rough month.  I have many blessings in my life.  I have a lovely wife, who loves me for richer or poorer.  I have three great boys, who could care less about bills and just want to play with their Daddy.  I have great family and friends who have put my family in their thoughts and prayers.  I have a job, the start up of a successful writing career, and I volunteer free time to my community.  So while March has got me down, I have 11 other great months to enjoy.

So, you can take my face off the milk cartons of the blogging world.  Though I was missing in March, April is just around the corner.