Friday, September 23, 2011

The End Draws Nigh

Yeah so my self-imposed deadline of midnight last night came and went and I still didn't meet my goal. I even worked a good part of the day today trying to get it done but....No.
Its ok; as a first draft its pretty tight anyway even with the ending still floating about somewhere. There is an ending attached to it, but not THE ending.
Nevertheless, said project is now returning to the back burner.  October, and prob the rest of the year, is gonna be a busy time for me, starting with finishing a short story that has a non-self-imposed deadline, then finishing Road to The Golden Griffin 3, two more short stories, a stand alone novel, and then back to said project, if nothing else gets in the way first.

In other news, I'm 99% moved into my new place. Still have a few hurdles to conquer but by this time next week I will be officially and completely relocated.

With that said, Ill be entering the deadzone until then. World Builder Extraordinaire, signing off...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Coming Around The Mountain...

Wont be posting much over the next nine days or so. I'm in the process of moving and dealing with all the headaches moving so graciously provides.

I'm trying hard to get that project Ive been working on done by the self-imposed deadline of tomorrow midnight. Only 200 pages left and crazier things have happened, to throw in a few more cliches. Its only a first draft and I can already tell that the second draft is gonna be fun with plenty of work for fixing timelines and pacing.

Its going to be interesting to see if I can get it done.

Ok, whole lot about nothing--time to work


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Disgusted

Yeah, all my predictions came true last night, though none of them really ended how I thought they were gonna.

Morales is the new Super-Lightweight champion, Alvarez is still champ, and Floyd is still a bitch.

Tomorrow I go back to writing. Cant wait.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Sweet Science

There are three significant fights tonight in the boxing world, and like always, here are my predictions.

The first fight of least consequence is gonna be Erik Morales vs Cano.

Everyone knows who Morales is; I have no clue who Cano is. Based on his record, I give him a 30/70 chance of beating Morales. I would give him a much smaller chance of winning, but Morales has been wiggy in his last four or five fights, so: Morales with an early KO.

Next would be Saul Alvarez vs Alfonso Gomez.

Gomez is one of those guys I cant stand for several reasons. 1) Hes hyped up because he was on the 1st season of The Contender,,,big whoop...he really cant box for shit, and hes boring to watch.

Now Alvarez is a totally different story. I like the way he fights, he worked for his title, and he is fun to watch. But hes also very young. Even so, I have him beating the Go off of Gomez over 12 rounds.

Lastly: need I say it? Floyd Mayweather vs Victor Ortiz.

Floyd is undefeated in 41 fights...technically. I dont care what anyone says, Delahoya beat him soundly in 2006 but....well...money talks.

Its never safe to bet agaisst Mayweather in any fight, and to be honest, I have him winning this fight by decision tonight, but not based on his skill alone.

Six years ago I thought for sure Gatti would school him: I was wrong. But that was the only time.

Before Hatton was knocked out by Floyd, hed been winning on my scorecard; but he was fighting five people instead of one that night. Every time Hatton got to work, Floyds fav referee, Cortez, would break it up and allow Floyd to elbow him in the face...and this was all night. And then you had the other three..the judges, who would never dare score a round against Pretty Boy Floyd.

Baldomer was a sleeper, Mosely is done, Marquez was too small, and Judah had a bad night.

Now we have Ortiz...Im a huge fan, especially after his last fight. He was mentally weak in the Maidana fight but I think tonight hes gonna give Floyd a hurtin,

I have Mayweather winning 58/42...but heres how I see the fight: Floyd usually daydreams for the first three rounds. Victor is gonna hurt him badly, possibly even knocking him down. 4th round, if Floyd survives, will see Floyd closing his defense and potshotting Victor, discouraging him, putting doubts in his head. By the sixth or seventh round, Floyd will drop Ortiz, hurt him bad, but wont finish him. Come the late rounds, after surviving a KO, Ortiz will be overflowing with confidence and going on the attack, smashing Floyd from all sides as Floyd tries to hang on: And he will hang on, and he will be allowed ti because guess who the ref is? Yup..Cortez. And even tho Ortiz would have one the fight, the three judges will have already given every round to Floyd.

But with just a little luck, Ortiz will knock Floyd out cold so we wont ever have to see MONEY bore us ever again--J

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Another One Down

Just put the finishing touches on the first draft of a side project. Now its back to my other main project. I have alot of material in various states of doneness. When I get settled in the new place I will be chucking out manuscripts left and right, up and down. The mailman is gonna know me by first and last name.
But for now, I shall continue to lay the ground work.

Here I come Varsavia. 


Monday, September 12, 2011

The Short Of It

Spent the day writing a short story. Still writing it in fact; just taking a break for sustenance and potty time.
My other projects are still in full force as well, but no big changes on that front to report. News in the writing world comes in flurries that break up the long periods of aint-nuttin-happenin.
My writing schedule is kind of in limbo because I'm in the process of moving. Once I get settled again my workload and my output will increase dramatically.
Until then, I duz what I can duz.

Chow for now--J

Saturday, September 10, 2011

1% Update

So those who bet on the fights this weekend based on my predictions and odds are probably loving me and hating me right about now.

The Loving: Kayode beat Cora last night. It wasnt an exciting fight but entertaining.

The Hating: Klitchko beat the ever-living shit out Ademek a few hours ago.  Im happy because Klitchkos been my guy for about 8 years now. I just hope Ademek is ok. Last time Vitali beat someone like that (shannon Briggs) the guy had both cheeks and his bose flattened and required an 8 day hospital visit to fix.

Dat be Dat...theres still one more fight tonight; Gamboa/Ponce De Leon...no use in giving odds but Gamboa is gonna win.

Now Im gonna try to get some work done---J

Friday, September 9, 2011

Some More 1% Stuff

Ok so maybe one person besides me will be interested in this post, and thats just a maybe. The reason being that the state of boxing is going steadily down hill. There are still great fights that could be made, and sometimes ARE even made, but, normally, no one wants to fight each other.
The first fight I ever watched was Leonard vs Hagler. I was too young to realize how important the fight had been to people back then and still is today...or how close the fight had really been. All I cared about was that I had 20 bucks on Leonard winning.
But anyway, that fight happened in the middle of the golden age of boxing. Some say the golden age was the 30s or the 50s; to me, even tho I wasnt alive for the majority of it, all the real mega-fights happened between 1972 and 1994.
After that, instead of there being a good fight once a week, there was a good fight every six months, but those fights were REALLY good.  Hollyfield/Tyson, Delahoya/Chavez, Delahoya/Tito, Bowe/Golota (even tho those bouts ended shitty) and there were the big name low marque fights that surprised everyone with their awesomeness; Mercer/Hollyfield, all of Tommy Morrisons fights, Byrd/Iabucchi, and a bunch of others that Ive forgotton about by now.
Then came the 2000s.
I have to admit, after a slight slump in the late 90s, boxing did come back with a vengeance from 2000 to 2004. It was (and therefore still is) the decade of wars: The three slugfests between Barrera and Morales were classic. And the three gore-filled fights between Ward and Gatti were legendary; Ward couldn't see straight for a year after the last fight, he was hit so hard. 
And then there were the could-have-beens.
The two fights between Corrales and Castillo were brutal and filled with controversy; a third fight never materializing on account of that controversy, followed by Corrales death.
To add to that category of could-have-beens, The Entire Heavyweight division. There has only been one significant heavyweight fight since 2000 and that was Lewis vs a washed up Tyson--in 2002.
Ask any casual boxing fan who the current heavyweight champion is and they wont be able to tell you.
Don King is the one man to blame for that. He had a monopoly on all the shitty heavyweights in the division, allied himself with the four sham sanctioning bodies and had himself a series of pointless heavyweight tournaments at the expense of the fans. It was nobodies and old men fighting each other in a 21st century version of the bum of the month club, and people lost interest.
And who is the heavyweight champ? Well, currently, there are three...yeah, three. The recognized champ is Wladimer Klitchko, and behind him is his brother Vitali. The third is Alexander Povetken.
Now all three are great fighters, but what other sport had three champions in one division? And sometimes theres four! Not including interim and regular titles.
The sad truth is that the old guard is gone; Tyson, Delahoya, Jones, Mosley, Gatti, Hollyfield, Barrera, Forrest, Corrales, Holmes, Haglar, etc, etc, either dead, retired, or faded.
The new guard is in full swing and its well....eh..But we have guys (for now) like Paquio who are keeping the sport alive,  but who else is there?
The Old Timers say that the sport has been close to death before and had always come back strong. I do see soem bright lights in the sport, and whether it sucks or not, I wont stop supporting it.

Ok, so tonight starts off a weekend of boxing and now I get to play the booky.

The first fight are cruiserweights.  Kayode vs Cora; I like both guys but I have Kayode winning by a one point margin with a 75% chance of a draw.

Next is...who else? Klitchko (vitali) vs Thomas Ademek; Again, i like both guys but I have Ademek winning by a point for the upset and no chance for a draw.

There are other less significant fights, but lets see how good my insight is.




The Sapien Surprise


“Found another human today,” the first rat said to the second, both staring straight ahead, unblinking. They were sitting in a small hole in the wall called Chedderz. The place wasn’t as good as Rodent Haven, but the service was all right and the cheese wasn’t too moldy--usually.
     Plus it was vintage. Not too many establishments used cardboard boxes anymore. Not since the water started seeping through the fluffy hair of the slanted sky.
     “Oh yeah?” the second rat said. He took a stiff sip of stale water from a cracked plastic mug. Behind the rats, a few flies were crawling along the floor of the bar, searching for discarded tidbits and trying to lick up some of the spilled milk or water that festered in between the splintered floor cracks. “What are you using for traps?”
     “Nothing traditional,” the first rat said. “I found it down below. It’s too big to bring back up but it works. I call it The Sapien Surprise.”
     “That’s a funny name,” the second rat laughed. “How does it work?”
     “You set it up, anywhere you want, and bait it.  You can use anything from human money to beer.  They walk into the trap--it’s shaped like a human house--and wham! The front door closes and the entire trap fills with poison gas. The humans don’t even know what hit them.”
     “Then what do you do with them?”
     “Me?” the first rat said. “I just toss them onto a public rot pile. You really can’t eat them. I mean, it’s perfectly safe to do so, but the poison makes their meat taste bad. So I feed them to the cockroaches.”
     “Is the trap reusable?”
     “Yup. Just needs to be aired out. It even has a self-cleaning mechanism, in case the human has been in there for a while.”
     “Traps sure have come a long way,” the second rat said.  “I’m still using the old snapper models, where the bar comes down and crushes their necks.  But the little bastards are getting wise.  Smart critters, they are.  Keep stealing the bits of cake off the basket and dodging the bar.”
     “Yeah,” the first rat said, nibbling on a piece of toast.  The Sapien Surprise is a surefire tool. One hundred percent reliable.”
     “How much do they cost?”
     The first rat leaned over and told him.
     “Jumping Fleas!” the second rat said, whistling threw his grimy whiskers. “Expensive, eh?”
     “That they are.  But it beats having to hear them crawling around during the day when you’re trying to sleep.”
     “That’s true,” the second rat said, thoughtfully.  “Maybe I should just dish out some coin and get one.  I’ve been seeing human prints all over my nest and I just can’t stand the thought of them running around, doing who knows what.”
     “I recommend it as a good investment,” the first rat said.  “Since I purchased The Sapien Surprise, I haven’t seen a live human around my nest for days.”
     “You sound like a damn commercial.”
     They both laughed and took long swigs of their water.
     “We’re closing up, boys,” the proprietor of Chedderz called out.
     “Okay, that’s a wrap,” the first rat said, standing from his seat.
     “Are you going to Ralph’s party tomorrow?” the second rat asked.
     “I can’t,” said the first rat.  “One of my kids has the plague.  I have to get them dipped.”
     “Oh, that’s too bad.  Which one has it?”
     “How the Hell should I know?” the first rat laughed.  “I have so many kids, I can’t keep track of them!”
     “I know what you mean.”
     They stepped out into the tunnel in front of Chedderz.
     “Well, you have yourself a good one,” the first rat said.
     “Same to you,” said the second rat.
     They then both went their separate ways down the filthy tunnel.
THE END

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Mr. Synopsis

The synopsis.
 I hate em. I hate writing them, I hate hate looking at them, and I hate the fact that they're necessary evils. I completely understand why most editors require them; why read the whole book if you can just skip though the major parts in a matter of minutes to find out if the mss sucks or not.
Doesn't change my opinion on them one bit. Writing a synopsis is easy if you have leeway.
What really causes me anxiety are the editors who require a one to three page synopsis in smf. For me to feel comfortable, I need a ten page min leeway, single-spaced, and a very open-minded editor.
The problem, obviously, is space. And yes, I also understand that shorter is better, but my brain doesn't work that way. What do I leave out? What do I need to put in? Blah!
Thats why I hate writing short stories. A short story in my world is 10, 000 to to 17,000 words. I have managed to get under those numbers a few times. Enigma of The Master Stone topped off at 10,000 words, but the first draft had been 15,000. ...And The Trees Looked Like Ghosts came in at around 7,500 words, and Lost in Shadow bottomed out at a light couple of k.
I even wrote a flash fiction story that I managed to trim down to 600 words! In fact, Ill post it next. Its kind of a funny story--kinds.
But , in general, I go big on story telling.
I remember one author said that any story could be boiled down to one sentence. Now, I don't know if she meant one continuous run-on sentence, but logically I'm sure she meant something a little more concise.
Here let me try it for Hero of Twilight, one sentence description: Awesome friggin story; alot of people die, alot of people live, bad shit happens, good shit happens, check it out.
I'm joking here of course, and I'm sure if I sat down and needed to produce something serious and effective, I could, but even my joke sentence was getting out of hand there.


Ok folks, enough ranting for one night. In the morning I do battle with the locals and this warrior needs his rest.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

One Letter At A Time

Been getting some good writing done lately, and some bad writing as well. I don't care, I love it all. Ive also been thinking about characters alot lately and not just my own.  When someone asked Robert E Howard back in the day how he d  come up with the idea of Conan, Howard said, I didn't, he just came in one night and sat down at the kitchen table and it went from there. Thats strictly a paraphrase, but close enough to be nearly an exact quote.
The point is tho, I started really thinking about my characters and where they'd come from.  Ive never built a character, I just interpret their stories, and through the interpretations I learn who they are, their goals, passions, hatreds, and their fears. And while I get some insight into their futures (ie, based on their lifestyles and experiences I can pretty much guess when they will die or if they'll be forever immortalized within the pages of the story) there are things that I still dont know, and may never know about them.
Take Sir Odon for instance. The first time I met him was when he was riding south through a snow storm across the southern baronies. I knew he was old and I knew he was sick--I even knew he d been a great Knight of Vorcikia! But I knew little else besides that. I wont say anything more to prevent spoilers for those who haven't yet read Hero of Twilight but I was surprised by much of his past.
Bathmal is another good example and his story is still ongoing. I actually knew alot about him before I met him, but Im learning more and more about him everyday.
And what about Arthur and his trolls? When I saw them marching across the Wherrta desert, you know I had to find out what was up with that...and boy did I find out!
And the list could go on, from the nameless, desperate king I chronicled in Lost in Shadow to Jalok, who s the oldest and most well known to me of all my characters, and whose story has been told, and still yet to be told all at the same time.

I'm rambling here a bit, but I guess what I'm trying to say is that my procedure for character creations resembles that of the late , great Mr. Howard. They're real, my characters, because I make them real, and I can end their existences anytime I want, but they grow till such a time on their own.

The stories they exist within are another matter entirely, but thats a topic for another day.

And speaking of Bathmal, I need to pay a visit to his world right now. Someones been late on their rent.


Monday, September 5, 2011

All G-G-Geared Up.

Sorry, I stutter. In other news, there is no other news; but I did manage to get a grand total of NOTHING done today.
YET
Workwise anyway. But that's about to change. I got my xtra large FV XX right next to me, my most comfortable boxers on, and a mind full of Dimensions. Its dark outside the windows and that's fine because someone has to die tonight. I dont like killing off characters in the daytime...doesn't mean I wont do it tho.
Ok people. I'm nestled safe behind the mountains of New England now but I have a one way ticket to a place called Gray, where the citizens are gathering to find out what the hell is going wrong with their world and I need to be there to ruin the party.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Plan Is Only Good Until The First Shot Is Fired

P.I.T.A project all buttoned up and back in storage. The Side Project is sucking wind, probably even dead already, but Dimensions is still alive and kicking today. I'm in love with my little stand-alone turned turned duology, turned trilogy.

Yup, I said it. The T word. Though not because of size, but because of content. The content could fit easily enough into two books, but its where to stop one and begin the other is the problem. The story will flow much better in three volumes, the plot threads more focused and concentrated instead of being stuffed together like river corpses.

Yup, I said it. River Corpses.

I'm going back to dimensions. Its safer there.

YUUUUUP!

So, like I said...Berto ended up winning last night and it wasn't a too bad of a fight. Kinda hate the way it ended tho.

Looks like there will be an Ortiz/Berto 2 no matter what now. I cant wait for that one..I missed the first fight but heard it was universally awesome and the highlights and Youtube clips confirm that it was.

Next week there are a pair of awesome fights too, but for now, I needs to take a trip to the realm of Dimensions and see what all the fuss is about.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Other 1%

I did mention that 99% of this blog would be dedicated to writing and similar topics, but that leaves me with 1% to talk about whatever the hell i want. And today that's boxing.

Tonight Andre Berto takes on Jan Zanvek something for the IBF welterweight title...why is this fight significant? It really inst. But it will take up a couple of hours of my night and might be slightly entertaining. For one, Bert is guaranteed to win, tho you'll prob never hear of the other guy again but the one good thing that might come out of it is if Berto was able to fight the Mayweather/Ortiz winner next.

Ive been waiting for someone to pound Mayweathers ass into the mat for way too may years now. I thought Gatti would do it, then Hatton, Judah, Marquez, Delahoya(who I thought won the fight) and then Mosely.

And now there's Ortiz. Statistically I have Mayweather winning the fight, but I really, really, really, want Ortiz to rip his head off and then rematch Berto to unify the division...maybe even fight Paquio next....but for tonight its Berto and that other guy. Yay.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Well Thats Done...

Project Beta is now in order. Come next week, we will battle.

Cuckcoo

Took a break from Dimensions yesterday to work on another ongoing project of mine. Ongoing for about 8 years--21 if you want to get technical. Ive never been able to get it right. The story is awesome, I love the characters like family, and I enjoy writing it even when I'm banging my head against my desk as I'm trying to make it work.
Over the years with this project Ive had trouble with timing, certain pacing, fitting in certain character threads, plot solutions, and you name whatever else. I know what has to happen, Ive made most of it happen, but I haven't made it happen in a way that is completely clear and entertaining to any perspective reader.

Yesterday, out of the clear blue ether, i think I had a breakthrough. Ive had these breakthroughs before and ended up having to take xanex for a few months afterwards. But this one hopefully, for the sake of my mental health, will be the final breakthrough of them all.

I spent the larger part of the day yesterday building a 95,000 beta draft. Today I'm going to put the finishing touches on that, then put it in solitary confinement to let it stew over the long weekend while I work on a smaller project for something else. Then come Monday or Tuesday Ill start the next incarnation of the First Draft. (technically its the who-knows-what number draft)

And then, when that's done, if I'm still at least partially sane, Ill return to Dimensions.

Yeah, that's pretty much how I roll.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Curse, A Gift, or Something Else Altogether

Whether it’s writing a short story, a novel, or anything in between, I love to write and I’m proud to be a writer; especially one whose chosen path is the speculative one, though I didn’t choose to become a writer.

Like thousands of other writers out there in the world, writing chose me.

In our world, a writer’s world, the word “Published” is sacred. Like a boxer needs a belt, a football team needs a trophy, or an Olympic star needs a gold medal, we writers vie for the title of being “Published”. Of course there are also higher titles to obtain, such as “Bestseller” and “Award Winner”, but to be “Published” is the first of many steps to being fully recognized for a work drenched with the blood, sweat, and tears of the one who has become “Published”. And we writers don’t even need for this title to be hammered in gold. Real writers don’t care if their works are published in the number one commercial press in the world, or in the meekest of fanzines. Compensation means little to us--save for the basic need for it--and a vent for our creativity is more highly coveted than any coin a paycheck has to offer.

For real writers, every project we produce comes to be like our children, or a close friend or family member. Sure, we’ll have our disagreements and our projects will refuse to listen to us and go the opposite way they were told to go, and sometimes we just simply need a break from them, but there is a reason they exist at all. The thought of stuffing them into a dark filing cabinet forever is a deplorable one. So we, as writers, try desperately to find good homes for our chil…projects to spare them the fate of that dark, lonely, and unforgiving filing cabinet purgatory.

We’ll search for years, decades, a lifetime until that home is found, hammering these projects into viable entities until someone grants them the home we as their creators know they deserve.

And what do us writers get in return? Several things. Like parents with our children, writers take satisfaction and pride in watching our projects go off on their own, standing by them during their struggles in the markets, and watching them defend themselves against snarky critics, and sometimes even rising above and beyond limits hoped for but never imagined, because yes, we writers are human and recognition and success are the benefits of our game.

I say recognition and success are benefits because they are not the true prizes to a real writer. The true prize comes when a project is fully brought to life. Ask any real writer and they’ll tell you, “I’d write even if I wasn’t published.” And they would be speaking the truth. In a very real sense that’s what makes a real writer a real writer, as opposed to a celebrity who puts their name on a biography, or commercial brands mass-producing quantities of poor quality, or the person who finishes a project, gets rejected once and then gives up to work in a dusty warehouse or answering phones in some stuffy office for the rest of their lives.

Real writers aren’t allowed to give up.

I wrote my first “novel” when I was twelve. In truth, it was horrible and contained probably no more than a few hundred words…barely a proper short story, but it was still something I was drawn to do. I wrote several more “novels” around that time, but didn’t decide to give the craft a serious go until I was around twenty-three.

I spent several years hacking through a few dozen false starts, then, something clicked and I began to spit out short stories and even a couple of novels like they were going out of style and I hadn’t been happier before then. Out of all those early projects, 100% of them were rejected, some of them many times over.

But unlike the one-timer, who was devastated by the rejection and hung their gloves up for good, I—-and many other real writers--thrived upon the rejection. We don’t give up because we can’t, and probably wouldn’t if we could. We take those rejections, find out what we did wrong, do our best to fix it, then head back out there to try again; repeat as needed.

To us, the craft of writing is like a drug: addictive, seductive, gripping. I’ve read or heard time and again about writers who’ve been in the field for decades and talking about retiring, even setting dates for those retirements. But yet these same individuals keep putting out books year after year, sometimes even long after their supposed retirement dates, because that’s what real writer’s do. They write. We write. I strongly believe that real writers are born and not made. You just can’t make a normal person sit in front of a screen of plain text for hours on end and have them completely enjoy it, lost in worlds that they could never even imagine. Sure, we writers have our days when the enjoyment levels are low, but I think we’d all agree that the pleasure far supersedes the pain.

I’d been writing full-time for about four years straight before my first story was published. Soon after that came my second, and third, and then a novel which then turned into a series. But out of those four plus projects how many others had been rejected?

Countless. Over four year’s worth, but I still couldn’t stop. And truth be known, I don’t think I’ll be ever able to stop, whether anything else ever gets published or not. If something keeps me from writing for one day, I feel less whole until that next time I’m able to write again. If I’m unable to finish what I set out to write in any given day, I’m distracted until I can finish it. As a real writer, everything inspires me. I can find the story within everything, whether I’m trying to or not.

Curse, a gift, or something else altogether, it’s something that I hope never leaves me.

To all you future one-timers out there, I honestly wish you luck with your endeavors.

But to all those real writers out there, especially to those ones who are as-of-yet “Published” and sitting on top of mountains of rejections but still never ceasing to smile, I know you won’t give up, and I look forward to reading your work in the future.

Until then, the pages go on and on and on and…

Jason J Sergi, Author of The Hero of Twilight, Book 1 in The Road To The Golden Griffin Series.

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