Site Re-Branding

As you might have noticed, the blog has re-branded. This includes not only a new theme with feature photos (which I will need to post to older entries), but also a new name. While it might still be a “Great Day for America,” with Craig Ferguson leaving the Late Late Show, a number of my bucket list items (and the point of the blog) have been rendered impossible.

That said, I did still want to maintain a connection to Craig Ferguson as his comedy and work have been as much a inspiration as the music on my playlist. So I have stuck with a quote he gave during an interview on The View…

Writing a novel is like making love to a gorilla. You’re not done until the gorilla’s done.

Going forward, I will post my plans. I will also be updating my Bucket List to include these changes. For now, I am posting links to my new reviews in my reading challenge.

NaNoWriMo Prep – Non-Gazebo Edition

This is the first in my “get your ass ready” series of posts for my own benefit. Listing out what I personally need as a writer. You can attempt to follow my example, but results may vary. Or as I hear often enough in writing conferences to make it mantra… damn near dogma…

This is what works for ME. Find what works for you and run with it.

Bug-Out-Bag-homeThe first step in preparing a NaNoWriMo Survival Kit is pretty similar to setting up a Bug Out Bag for the zombie apocalypse. Identify what you need and start gathering them together. At one point all the stuff for my BOB rested in a single place. That only lasts for so long. Stuff migrates in Casa de Zombie. Usually not by my doing. Sometimes, but not usually.

There are two quotes that I have yet to get stitched onto my shoulder bag that I use for NaNo. Both form the Double Rainbow that is the theme of my writing experience in either NaNoWriMo or Camp NaNoWriMo. They are…

You don’t need Neil Gaiman’s Fucking Gazebo.


Writing a novel is like making love to a gorilla. You’re not done until the gorilla’s done.

One was made PG in final edits (though the URL is still R), and the other is a quote from Craig Ferguson on novel writing. I am not PG, and I don’t choose who inspires me. So you get what you get.

neils-gazeboAs such, the two quotes present a dichotomy of sorts. Primarily, the act of preparing a Public Authorin’ Kit in itself is the definition of the gazebo. But at the same time is essential (for me) to succeed in the program. At least it isn’t building an actual gazebo. In additional, no matter what the challenge states, 50,000 words isn’t a full novel in my genre. Meaning that even once I hit that goal, “the gorilla isn’t finished.”

My plan is to get a nice bag set up with at least the gorilla quote after my first real sale. As I have a short story out there on submission, this could happen soon. But I won’t be holding my breath. For this year, I have my bag set out and ready to be stocked. I’ll be doing that this weekend since Halloween is pretty full this year.

After the pre-NaNo meet ups this week (also known as the Plotting Party), I’ll have an idea what I am writing. That means I will be able to load a playlist of music that will outline my story. Likely including the anthems for both the hero and the villain. Hell, in at least one of the ideas I am dancing with, those anthems may be the same songs.

I’m going out on a limb and will predict that the playlist for this project will contain at least one song from Wayland, one from Bobaflex, and probably one from Halestorm. In This Moment is a coin toss. Most of their music really needs a specific story or character to fit in. I’ve also been collecting up a lot of Nonpoint and Otep thanks to the influence of Biatch from the morning show. I may thank her by showing up at the station with donuts Halloween morning in my zombie clown getup.

So Step 1 is setting up the playlist, purchasing the music (if needed) and loading my iPod.  This is the kicking off point for all of my writing projects. At least the novel length ones. Poems and short stories are another issue entirely.

What music are you setting your story to? Or are you the kind of writer that needs quiet? Maybe experiment with it this NaNo.

Getting to Know Your Gorilla

The other day, while in New York for a stand up show, Craig Ferguson showed up on The View. Now in addition to being an actor, a comedian and a late night talk show host, he is also an author. He wrote an autobiography and a novel. While on the show they asked him about doing another novel. This produced one of the better quotes on writing novels that I think I have ever come across. “Writing a novel is like making love to a gorilla. You’re not done until the gorilla is done.”

Considering the knack many of us have of starting a novel and then promptly finding something more important to do, or writing and rewriting that first paragraph until it is perfect, I think there should be an addendum to that. “Successfully writing a novel is like making love to a gorilla.”

Think about it. How many people have an idea for a story? I can’t be the only one that has had someone tell me, “I’ve always wanted to write a book.” Hell I have one friend that keeps telling me the same thing over and over again. It’s the same pitch every time too. I’m apparently so memorable, that people forget they’ve told me things.

My point is, if you have a novel that isn’t even enough of a story to be called a Trunk Novel and you’ve been working on it over a number of years, then your gorilla is pretty damned understanding. Either that or your gorilla is just not that into you. Or your gorilla really likes cuddling. But that is kind of how I see NaNoWriMo – a chance for us to see if our gorilla is really a gorilla or simply a lazy chimp waiting for season 3 of The Walking Dead to start up.

During the weeks leading up to November and continuing through the month, I’m going to post little snippets of things I’ve heard in panels and been told at various writing conferences. Most likely this will be to hear myself talk (virtually speaking), but there may be a newcomer or two that could find it useful. Also, I totally subscribe to one of the pieces of advice I’ve been told, “If you act like a writer, then you’re a writer.” The act of discussing the craft of writing, sitting down and brainstorming through bouts of writers block and letting people critique your work (without crying) means that you’re taking your writing seriously. And if you take that lazy, couch potato chimp seriously, you may step into your living room to find a gorilla waiting for you on the couch. Looking at you seductively. Or maybe just creepily. Possibly both.

Blog Redesign – A New Direction

Today I’m doing a “soft announce” for the new direction of the site. And by “new direction” what I mean is the same old direction that limped along for the past year or so, but with a new destination in mind. Which is to say you’ll see sections of the site and the layout changing over the next week or two. For the three people checking this site (myself being one of them) I wanted to avoid confusion. If the new title of “Haggis in a Tardis” makes any sort of sense to you, you’ll have an idea of my “new direction.” But allow me to explain anyways.

Halloween night I sat at home, unable to sleep, making my new “This is not Neil Gaiman’s Gazebo” sign for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and trying to decide if I would dive in at midnight or not. In a stunning display of serendipity I saw that Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer were going to be on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. This started me in on watching the show regularly even though I’m not normally a fan of talk shows. They all seemed to be the same thing and were really hit or miss on the comedy. And then came Craig Ferguson.

Granted this is all opinion, but I really couldn’t believe he seemed to be the only late night talk show host not nominated in the People’s Choice Awards. Don’t get me wrong, I like Conan and all, but this show is something truly unique. Of course that may be due to the fact that it is on so late the CBS doesn’t really give a rat’s ass what they do. Cussing on the show is a norm, included with small flags to go over their mouths and nonsense words in the language matching with the flag.

Also, in addition to some extremely entertaining interviews (along with the ritual throwing away of the prepared questions) there have been a rather large number of authors these past couple of months. Albeit one of them was his mother-in-law, but I have picked up a couple of interesting looking books due to his show. Granted I was considering Charlie Higson’s The Dead already, but after his story about how he gauged if it was too much for kids, there was no way I could not.

Really though, this is only one half of the equation. The other half comes from a social networking friend that had done her Oprah by 2011 campaign – to get her novel published and on Oprah’s couch before her last show. I supported the effort, but in reality knew this was not my way. I write genre fiction – horror, science fiction, urban fantasy. There was no way any book of mine would be on Oprah’s Book Club lists. I considered the field of what I was seeing on the Late Late Show. Books of all kinds, but specifically genre fiction, young adult, romance and midlisters. This was more up my alley.

So the rebranding of my publishing effort is hitting this site now. Now my goal is to get a book published and make it onto Craig Ferguson’s show as a guest. In a perfect world I’d also know how to play the harmonica before I do. But as we can all tell by news reports, it is a far from perfect world.

Knowing the time it would take from the selling of a manuscript to printing, this venture will take a bit. I would have to get the book produced and then get a copy to the show. I would even venture a trip to California for that. And let’s face it, I would be more likely to go to Scotland than Florida under normal circumstances.

In considering the new title for the blog, I had considered something about being ushered in by Secretariat (as that bit always makes me chuckle), but somehow with Neil Gaiman being the one to gift Craig Ferguson with the vegetarian haggis and it becoming one of the bits at the end of the interview (touch my haggis in the Tardis), as well as my wife’s introduction to Dr. Who this Christmas, Haggis in a Tardis seemed to be an appropriate title. Who knows, that may change. Hell, if I had never discovered the show, this could have very well be named Not Neil Gaiman’s Gazebo.

There will be more to come, but between this effort and the Change Write Now challenge, it will be one hell of a busy year. This includes not only both the writing and the Change Write Now, but also Mrs. Zombie’s birthday cruise from New York to Hallifax and back, a week camping in Door County and Authors After Dark in New Orleans (now with cupcakes). I will do my best to include frequent updates as I hope the other two blog visitors will help keep me honest… and teach me to play the harmonica.

Change Write Now for yesterday…

  • Calories – made it to less than 50 under my goal
  • Exercise – spine is just starting to behave, so nope
  • Sleep – just under 6 hours with only 2 interruptions
  • Water – made goal before bed (which may explain interrupted sleep)
  • Check In – at least twice yesterday
  • Good Habit – not today (Wednesdays are not seeming to be my day for writing)
  • Bad Habit – within budget for books this month (of course its only the 4th)

Other Notes