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Archive for March, 2014

Throwback Thursday: I was a teenage rock and roller

March 20, 2014 14 comments

It’s Thursday once again, and that means it’s time for an old post from the past, one that I wrote long before most everyone followed this blog. This one comes from my personal blog (you can find it here, at A Pagan In Name Only), though over time I’ve ended up posting most of my personal stuff here. Go figure. Anyway, for those who only know me from reading this blog, you might find this post from July 2, 2012, an interesting read.

Disappearing Childhood Dreams Meet the Present

–dp

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On writing: editing with paper and red pen

March 18, 2014 16 comments

Recently, I’ve spent almost all my time editing a short story (this one here) and have gone through numerous revisions. I think the story and writing have improved dramatically, so I’m happy with my progress. But as I was about to begin my umpteenth editing session, I realized I was getting sick of staring at my computer monitor for hours on end. Still wanting to make progress, I decided to try a little editing the old-school way. Yep, I printed the story, grabbed my red pen, sat down at my desk, and started marking away.

2008-01-26 (Editing a paper) - 19
(Photo by Nic’s events)

I think it was helpful to look at the story differently, i.e., on paper rather than glowing letters on a screen. And it was fun to run that red pen all over the pages as I found various types of errors and problems. But I must confess, though, that the overall editing session didn’t feel as good nor did it feel as complete as my normal computer-based editing. I felt constrained, as it seemed to limit the speed at which I could write down my thoughts, and if the scope of the changes became too large, the method became unwieldy.

So while I was happy to try my hand at editing via paper and pen, for me it just wasn’t as productive, though I suppose if you consider that it did let me keep revising my story when otherwise I’d probably have just stopped for the night, it did, in a small way, allow me to get more done. Not sure if I’ll resort to it again in the future, unless perhaps I find myself ready to stab my computer monitor because my eyes are burning from too many hours of endless edits (that have followed a full day of programming on the same computer).

Anyone edit by hand much? How do you like it? Any of you refuse to resort to the old way of doing things and stick to just their computer? Tried the red pen on a larger project, like a novel? How did it go?

–dp

Throwback Thursday: Retrospective on writing first novel

March 12, 2014 2 comments

I don’t think many people were following me when I first posted this multi-part retrospective on writing my first book. Note that only the first part is somewhat long-ish. The others are quicker reads.

Retrospective on writing my first novel

On writing: submitting another short story

March 11, 2014 12 comments

I recently found out that Cemetery Dance Publications, one of my favorite publishers of dark fiction and horror, is accepting submissions for one remaining slot in their upcoming publication, October Dreams 2, an anthology of Halloween-themed short stories. So of course, I can’t resist … I must submit a story, despite the overwhelming odds against acceptance (I wrote about my first submission/rejection here). But I’m okay with that, because as one of my blog friends reminded me when my last story was rejected, I’m aiming for the top, and acceptance into publications of this caliber is hard. So if ever one of my stories is accepted then it will mean even that much more.

Don’t get me wrong, though … I’ll still be disappointed if/when the rejection comes, but at least this time I’ll remember that I’m in the company of hundreds of other talented writers who also were rejected. There is some comfort in that 🙂

So, off I go into my next big adventure. I’ll keep you all posted.

Wish me luck!

–dp

Melancholy Monday: sad songs (The House That Built Me)

March 10, 2014 20 comments

Almost three years ago, I wrote a blog post about a song that touched upon a yearning I think most of us have at one time or another. It’s that desire to go back to simpler times, to those days when were kids with nothing more to worry about than growing up and what was for dinner. This song, for me, is bittersweet. It brings back so many wonderful memories, yet at the same time I feel an overwhelming sense of loss. If nostalgic were a genre of music (and perhaps it is), this would be right up there at the top of the list representing the category.

The original post can be found here.

For those who don’t want to go back to the old post, I can summarize it here: I took copies of my family’s old 8mm films, edited them together, and added the song, “The House That Built Me”, to the final video.

If you’re interested in a small slice of this person’s childhood while you’re listening to the song, you can watch the first video. Note: Of the two young boys you’ll see, I’m the younger (and I might say, cuter) of the two. Otherwise, you can watch the second video, which is the official one produced by the original artist, Miranda Lambert.

Obligatory disclaimer for those who eschew country music: Yes, this is a country song, but bear with me and give the song a listen anyway. It’s not a beer drinking, love my tractor, honky tonking, my wife left me kind of country tune. It’s actually quite touching, with lyrics I think many of us can identify with.

–dp

On reading: micro fiction – two sentence horror stories

March 6, 2014 7 comments

In the past, I’ve seen a few good examples of scary stories told in just a couple of sentences, which is a pretty good trick to pull off with so few words. Here are some I read yesterday that are all new to me, so I thought I’d share them. I got a few pretty good chills. You know, the kind that tingle down the spine?

These are best read at night, preferably with as little light as possible, though I think they’re still good even when read during the day 🙂 My personal favorites are 1, 5, and 10. What are yours? Read any other two sentence horror stories that you thought were good?

–dp

http://imgur.com/gallery/mrPZK

On life: missing in action

March 1, 2014 19 comments

So, have any of you out there wondered, “Hey, where’s Dave been?” Well, if you have, I’ve got an answer for you.

Recently, our seventh grandchild was born. Yeah, I know … seven grandchildren … hard to believe, especially for me because I certainly don’t feel old enough to even be a grandfather 🙂 But hey, get this … in May grandchild number eight arrives! Isn’t life just a kick in the head?

So on February 19th, my wife and I headed out to LaCrosse, Wisconsin and braved the dreaded polar vortex to introduce ourselves to our new granddaughter, Bronwyn Elizabeth. She is ridiculously cute and sweet, and her older brother, David, thinks she’s awesome. We returned late last Tuesday, and have pretty much just now returned to normal. I figured now would be the perfect time to pass along some proud grandfather pictures.

First off, here’s Bronwyn:

Bronwyn Elizabeth

Bronwyn Elizabeth

Here’s Bronwyn with her wonderful grandmother (affectionately referred to as Grammy). If there was ever an award for the world’s best grandmother, it would be for this lovely lady.

Bronwyn's Grammy

Bronwyn’s Grammy






















For David, who had to put up with all the fuss of a new kid in the house, Grammy and I decided he deserved a trip to Toys R Us. Here are the first two things he found. Not surprising for a kid who spends hours a day playing with dinosaurs and bugs 🙂

David

David

Here we are, the proud grandparents, just before we left the ice and snow to head back to California.

Pop, Grammy, David, and Bronwyn

Pop, Grammy, David, and Bronwyn


















We had a wonderful visit with our son and daughter-in-law. We’re looking forward to seeing them later this year after they move to Nashville so our son can complete his residency training at Vanderbilt University.

–dp