See? I am terrible at this stuff.

I try to make no secret about the fact that I’m terrible at social media. Most of the people in my life, I think, know that I rarely update Facebook or Twitter, and I can’t even be bothered to keep this little site updated with my latest ramblings and thoughts. I don’t really know why this is the case. I like writing, clearly, just not about myself? Something like that. Maybe it’s also a side effect of having a 9-to-5 job that is focused on keeping things organized. I organize professionally, so not privately. Too much like work.

And that’s why it’s been six months since my last update.

I don’t have much to show for it. Work on projects continues, slower than I’d like, as the aforementioned 9-to-5 and other grim realities of life dominate my time. I’m impressed anybody finds time to churn out enough material to get started in this industry, and to devote the time to hunting for markets. I can get the writing part–barely–but the rest? Clearly not. It’s a Catch-22, really. If I had this as my actual, making-enough-to-pay-my-mortgage job, I’d have the time to do what needs to be done; but in order to get to that point, I need to devote full time to making it happen.

Eh, I dunno. This is whiny. One’s life is what one makes it. There are trivialities that distract me just as much as adult necessities, so how can I place blame on those? I am my own success or failure–which sounds like it should be an uplifting, motivating thought, but it’s actually kind of a depressing one.

I wrote a thing that was performed, and now it’s over.

I wrote a while back about a show, Violent Delights, for which I did some script work (and also a shocking level of performance). Shortly after that post I got so heavily immersed in bringing that construct to fruition that I lost a lot of my other free time, including time spent here. It was worth it–good times were had, a troupe born, and I lost like 15 pounds from all the physical exercise–but it was definitely taxing, and anyway, that’s why I was quiet around here.

The show’s seventh and final performance was last Friday, and we reveled like madmen to celebrate its passing on the next day. I’m sure our deeds that day will be repeated as hazy legends for years to come. Or, at least, they should. But I digress. The show ended, and now I have time again to do things like, you know, write. (Which is good, because I was going a little crazy)

First order of business is a short story for Oliver, which will be submitted to a compilation of local writers. I’ll post if anything comes of it, but even if nothing does, it’ll be available for viewing (here, if nowhere else). This is separate from the other string of short stories I was working on, but I suspect they’ll crawl out of the woodwork sometime in… oh… Winter? Because between now and then, I will be working on the sequel to Into That Good Night.

Oh, yes. You read that correctly.

No details yet, but know that I’m working on it. I may also lend my hand to some of Off the Quill’s next endeavors, but not in quite so involved a way as I just did. I am staying off stage for a while. I’m sure you’ll hear about that, too.

I wrote some stuff that will be performed somewhere

I mentioned previously that I did some play-writing with Off the Quill (technically I am a Founder, though I am really the least of the Founders, if you want my honest, utterly biased opinion–these people are very devoted to theatre and very good at it, while I just kind of play at it); OTQ’s website is here and they will debut at this year’s DC Fringe Festival with Violent Delights. You will note that their website is younger and sexier than mine. Not that I’m bitter or anything.

Okay, important things about OTQ as it concerns me and what I do:

1. The name may sound familiar if you read my book. It is. They’re in it! Technically book-version is officially older than real-life version. But only officially! Because we were totally talking about it back when I wrote the manuscript. So, yes, the troupe mentioned in my book is a legitimate, real-world troupe, and this is your chance to interact with something actually featured in Into That Good Night. How cool is that? (Answer: Reasonably Cool)

2. I wrote parts of the script. There’s a lot of Shakespeare in it, so obviously not those parts–hell, I didn’t even get involved in the clipping and cutting of Shakespeare’s material. Trust me, it’s better this way; it’s just not my forte. But I did write and edit a bunch of original material, building mostly off of what the entirely-too-multi-talented Patrick Mullen had already put together. For sake of ease, just assume that the awesome parts were written by me and the ‘okay’ stuff was written by someone else. Any bad parts (heaven forbid) we’ll just blame on the actors or tech or something. They’re used to that.

3. I am also in it. I think my compatriots will soon see the error of their choice, but until then, I plan to perform to the pinnacle of my ability and constantly stress out about time away from writing Under Broken Stone (my personal deadline is not that far away). Still, if you frequent this site and don’t already know me and also are in the DC area, this is your big shot to meet the author.

4. I have been bribed with word that I might be able to sell copies of my book at our vendor table, so if you wanted one, or wanted something signed, this is also your opportunity. If I’m feeling particularly devious, I may stuff copies with something extra, just because.

That’s it!

 

P.S. Not it. Just reflecting: the last time I updated this site was a rain day; it is now a rain day again. I’d like these things to be a coincidence, but am making a personal notation just to track it in the long term.

Rain is awesome

I am fond of rain.

To be specific: I like overcast days and steady, drizzling rain. Cool temperatures, a steady patter in the background, dim light, empty streets. I love it. It’s conditions like these that bring a lot of my ideas to the surface, as if they’ve been hiding from the light and noise and bustle of normal days. I try to nurture them and tend them when they’re like this, get them to play a little and explore. Then I take notes–figurative pictures, really–so I don’t forget what they had to say and do on these days.

I often go for long walks when days like this come around. I like going for long walks anyway because it helps me think in general, but it’s even nicer on gloomy, brooding days. I’m even excited about carrying my umbrella (which is a proper umbrella, roughly cane-sized in length and hooked at the handle, not some tiny compact thing that breaks in the first respectable wind), even when I don’t use it to block any rain (you can’t just go around using umbrellas like that for any ol’ trickle, it has to be a heavy, substantial, meaty kind of rain). It’s a prop, like most of the things people around themselves with; a tool or symbol of who we are that helps encourage and propel our brains and attitudes.

It’s easy to lose track of time when I’m out walking, and that… causes problems. Time is the enemy, or at least the belligerent attendant. “Hey, didn’t you have some things to do? Weren’t there deadlines? Errands? Chores? You’ve better get on that stuff! Forget about the rain, man, you need to get busy!”

Time isn’t wrong. But sometimes I’d rather walk around, listen to the rain, and get lost in the world for a while.

UBS Prequel 1

Just finished my first run through the prequel short story–although prequel may not be the right term. It certainly happens before the main story, but by a significant margin, and it doesn’t actually lead directly into what’s happening now. Just an earlier story.

At any rate, it’s provisionally done. Now to edit it and make sure it’s presentable, and then I’ll start putting it up for all to see on this site (so be on the lookout!). It won’t be quite as rigorously polished as a novel, but you should enjoy it nonetheless. I mean, if fantasy’s your thing. If it’s not… well, give it a read anyway. It’s free. What have you got to lose? (Don’t answer that)

Play-writing

Tomorrow I’m taking a break from my usual activities to go to a “writing retreat.” It’s not, like, an official writing retreat or anything. I’m heading to a hotel with a handful of creative-minded crazies to work on a script for an upcoming project that we’re putting together. Plays aren’t usually my bailiwick, nor is collaboration, but I do love dialogue and these people are a dangerous mix of intelligent, deranged, and inventive, so I’m excited to see what we come up with.

If you’re curious, our troupe is Off The Quill and the show is Violent Delights; it goes up at this year’s Capital Fringe Festival in (of course) Washington, DC. It will be a spectacle of one kind or another, I have no doubt. Come see what we managed to put to paper, and then what horrible, fantastic things come to life from that paper. Also, I suspect there will be violence, and everyone likes a good bloodsport, right?

Otherwise, it’s business as usual. Stealing time to write when I can, minding the day job, reveling with the people that tolerate me. The short story’s coming along nicely–there was a snag, but it turned into an opportunity that I am content to explore further. I’m also itching to get back to the rest of Under Broken Stone, but I know this needs to happen first. I am learning a lot about the world I’m building.

Fill this space!

Hi. JPL again.

I survived another year on this planet, which is cool and noteworthy, and always makes me consider what I am doing and why I haven’t finished it yet (this is a common thing writers do, as I understand it). I always kind-of know, in the back of my head, exactly what I’m working on at any given moment, but this is rarely narrower than 3 projects at once. I mean, I don’t actively work on them all, but like unwanted house guests, they refuse to go away. They get some brain time, whether I like it or not.

I talk a little bit about what I’ve got on the agenda in my FAQ, but I wanted to tease the idea that one of them will appear here very soon. I’m somewhere in the field of 20,000 words into my next piece, and to help some of the characterization, I started sidetracking to write some short stories in the same setting with, more or less, the same characters. They are small installments that I really have no interest in publishing in any kind of organized way since they were basically made for my selfish benefit, so I’m going to put them here! The first one looks like it’ll be a five-part short story (probably only like 10,000 words overall), so I hope you can swing by, read, enjoy, and let me know what you think.

No immediate plans to make another one in the same series, but you never know. I’ve always wanted to put some freebies on this site while I’m working on novel-sized stuff, so more of something will show up, I’m sure.

Meeting People

It’s actually taken me 3 days to find a window of time in which to make this post. Gah. Busy and distracted constantly. But look at me, already off-topic!

My trip to PAX and my general struggle with marketing ITGN has made me think a lot about how I interact with people. I’m not exactly an introvert, but I tend strongly towards watching and listening, and feel most comfortable in small-scale engagements–one-on-one conversations, small groups, etc. Faced with actual brand new people and casual encounters, I found I had absolutely no idea where to begin speaking to them. I would never have considered this odd, either, except for the presence of one F. (we shall call him) who appears to have leveled entirely as a Bard for the duration of his existence. It’s unbelievable. The ability to engage with anyone, whoever they may be, and result in a positive interaction just blows my mind.

I’m not sure what to do with the revelation yet. I am still (clearly) struggling to understand how one promotes oneself, even if one is producing something that one believes wholeheartedly is an awesome and worthwhile thing. I love my book. But I kind of choke when put on the spot to verbally tell someone about it. I have no idea why. I feel the inability to self-promote and casually interact with shiny new people is somehow related. I wonder how many other people have this problem, and how many marvelous things it’s buried away from the public eye.

PAX East

Heading to PAX today. I’ll have a copy of Into That Good Night on me for general “Look, I made this!” purposes, but mostly I’m just there to be there. And to assassinate people, which is possibly the best meta-con-game I’ve heard of.

I’ll be on the PAX train (Sonic line, if I recall correctly), ready for on-the-way games and some writing. I have some things to shake loose.

In related news, my first royalties have made their way to me, which is an excellent feeling. I am by no means capable of retiring into the lap of luxury, but it is nice nonetheless. It’s a symbol, really. Now I just need to get the hang of this self-promotion thing, something I have never been particularly great at. It always feels self-indulgent or arrogant, but I guess if you’re trying to write for a living, you’re already self-indulging.

Please allow me to introduce myself…

Hi there.

Today the site goes live. Technically it’s been around for a couple weeks now, but it’s taken a while to get into an acceptably visible state–I kind of blame my day job and kind of blame my own lack of familiarity with websites. I’ll endeavor to do better.

But the site is here. There’s not much to know yet–I wrote a book, I think it’s pretty awesome, and I encourage you to read a few preview chapters to decide if you like it or not (and then buy it if you do). There is some information about me if you’re into that kind of thing. Otherwise this will just be a place to broadcast my general musings and thoughts.

It’s early yet, but if you happen to have found me and are not a spammer or a bot (fun fact: this site has been quiet and mostly empty for two weeks but already has spam! Amazing), feel free to drop a comment or just poke around. I’m glad to have you here.