Month: January 2010

“There are thousands of thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he takes up the pen and writes.”

~~William Makepeace Thackeray

I’m getting my feet under me on this whole blogging thing and–let me tell you–it’s been nothing but fun!  It’s not an understatement to say that reading all your blogs (if you’re reading this, I’m probably reading you too!) has been a great source of inspiration.

I thought I might take a second to introduce myself.  I’m a graduate of the University of Texas English Program, with a concentration in Creative Writing and a minor in Playwriting (Playwriting was fun and will provide some good fodder for future posts). 

By day, I’m a helicopter pilot, although it’s been a few years since I’ve actually flown anything other than a desk.  By night, I’m a corny husband to my awesome wife, heretofore known as Furnacegirl, and father to my precocious and smarter-than-me two year old, who I will call Muffin.  I’m all about protecting the guilty. 

(As a funny aside, when we were first pregnant but didn’t yet know Muffin’s gender, we decided we’d call her Biscuit.  You see we wanted to keep her real name secret from the family until after she was born.  So we decided if she turned out to be a boy, we’d call him Sausage Biscuit. 😛 Since she’s a girl, it’s Muffin.  Aren’t we clever?).

Currently assigned in Baghdad, Iraq as part of the military staff at the U.S. Embassy, I’ve been away from home for nearly a year.  Although the staff work has been interesting and sometimes exciting (in both good and bad ways–the recent explosions here being exhibit A), I am ready to go home.  I have about two more years before I retire and a second career in fiction would be just the ticket, if I can make it happen.

Mainstream fiction is my first love, and my tastes tend toward classic authors like Harper Lee and J. D. Salinger, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Ayn Rand to name a few.  There’s a simplicity there that I enjoy.  I do like magical realism–Borges does a number on me–and I’ve dabbled in sci-fi, but I keep returning to the middle of the road stuff.

I am not one of those folks who insists that I will write what I want and hope to hell people like it.  In my opinion, no writer should be inaccrochable in their work (for the record, I choose the second meaning for inaccrochable, namely writing that can only be understood by the author, vice writing that has no market because of controversial content), and so one of the big challenges I face is updating my feel for what is fresh and marketable to today’s reader. 

You see, I have every intention of getting published.  It is not a question of if, but when.  No doubt, this sentiment is familiar to you.

{steps down from the soapbox, deposits said soapbox in the closet, and throws out a wan smile}

A dozen or so short stories are in my writing queue so far, and I’m working on a novel treatment (more to follow on that).  I’m not short of ideas, which is good news, but I am still perfecting my process and knocking the rust off. 

It’s been over five years since I wrote seriously.  I spent most of this last summer alternating between quitting writing altogether and trying but failing to write.  As a result, I am ecstatic to now be producing and my current goal is around 1,000 words a day, give or take.  In the next weeks, I’ll tell you more about my projects and also share some plans I have for this blog.

I do have one question: who are you people following me?  😀  I am so very curious, and I want to know all about you.  So I throw out this proposition: if you’re reading this and the mood strikes, introduce yourself in a comment below.  Tell us a little about your background, where you’re from, what you like to write, and so on.

I look forward to hearing from you.  And once again, thanks for reading.

“You may delay, but time will not.”

~~Benjamin Franklin

I’m new to this blogging game, so I’m still learning my way (obvious, ain’t it?).  As one of my drill instructors once said to me: “JP, you need a tissue, because you’re just crying for leadership.”  😀

After spending the last few months searching for good places to learn a thing or two about writing, a few blogs stand out.  One of those is See Heather Write.  Heather has been regular reading for me lately.  She’s done a fantastic job, day in and day out, of putting up great posts filled with smart content like these:

Critiques: Turning Your Plot Upside-Down Since 1485
I learned, I learn, I will learn: Things got in-tense!
On beginnings

Bottom line, I think this girl is going places.  To put icing on the cake, she is now hosting her first contest and has a couple really nice prizes lined up:

The Pilot’s Wife by Anita Shreve (signed paperback)

or

The Given Day by Dennis Lehane (signed paperback)

Personally, I have my eye on the Pilot’s Wife, a book I’ve been wanting to read for awhile now.  But I’m sure The Given Day is a great read too, and a signed copy of either one would be a nice addition to anyone’s library. 

So waddaya say?  Why dontcha mosy on over and subscribe to Heather’s blog right this instant.  And enter the contest while you’re at it.  All the instructions on how to enter are here:  See Heather Write Signed Book Contest

I tell ya, there’ll be some good reading in it for ya in the days and weeks to come, courtesy of Heather, and if you’re lucky, you’ll get your hands on a nice signed book as well!  Good luck!

“Every author in some way portrays himself in his works, even if it be against his will.”

~~Goethe