Solar Fox

NaNo adjustments are underway. This morning, instead of wasting time on a project that I’m becoming increasingly uninterested in, I shelved it and decided to reboot sports in space. I just outlined the first four chapters of a world wrapping solar car race.

The problem I’d been having previously with this story is that it lacked tension. THE BIG RED BUCKLE has external conflicts to the race that contribute significantly to the development of the story. So too, does UP SLOPE which pits scientists against political profiteers who control military levers back on Earth. But beyond things that could go wrong with the Solar Fox, the HPV-Solar hybrid I’ve imagined for a world wrapping race, I felt dependent on interpersonal conflicts within the team. This was limiting the buildup that’s necessary for telling a good story. So I shelved it.

This morning it occurred to me that I could toss all the words I’ve already written. I’ve already been contributing to my NaNo totals from a variety of projects, that word count is an amalgamation, so why not just add another to the list. Besides, I really want to write this and I’ve got a much better idea for building tension to a satisfying storytelling climax. Thus, outlining for  A DRY AND DUSTY HEART consumed my morning word total.

Consequently, I’m running a little behind. Now that I have a roadmap I should be able to make some relentless forward progress. Wish me luck!

Go, fly, buy, be nerdy!

Galaxy Add-2

That’s right, you can now pre-order Samuel Peralta‘s next anthology that is due out November 30th. My short story SER PAN COMIDO is featured in this collection of space opera and military science fiction tales, and I’m surrounded by all the good stuff written by all the good people. Better yet, if you’re a Prime member you read for free and if not, your pre-order price is less than two bucks. That’s right, get it while it’s hot!


A quick couple of words on writing for Peralta’s anthology and then I’ll let you get on with the ordering frenzy. An internet friend and fellow author Chris Boore nominated THE BIG RED BUCKLE last spring. Based on the number of reads Peralta gets tossed his way I didn’t think anything would ever become of it. Samuel makes a point of saying that he reads everything nominated, but who could possibly keep up with that volume?

June rolled around, and summer started to unfold, I was not holding my breath. In fact, I had returned my focus to finishing Tess’ kayak and wasn’t spending a whole lot of time at my computer writing, when, out of the blue, I got a message from Samuel.

“I liked Red Buckle. Could you write something for Galaxy?”

“Sure, I’d love to,” I replied.

“Good, you’ve got about four weeks.”

With that brief interaction I jumped, not from the pan into the fire, but into a pressure cooker. Tess had already signed up for a sea kayaking class in July, making non-refundable reservations along the way. Now I had two very hard deadlines and not enough time for either.This is where I learned something about myself.

I write well when pressured.

Summary, I enjoyed writing this story. As I got into the meaty details of it, the challenging bits felt more like play than work. I enjoyed working with Jeff Seymore polishing the finished project, and I can recall wishing we’d spent even more time working on things like the summary. I ended this project wanting and ready to write more.

Compared to the work I’ve done for other anthologies, Galaxy Chronicles, and SER PAN COMIDO was easy peasy. A walk in the park.

Pre-order sales rank after about 12 hours on Amazon’s shelf.

Samuel’s series of Future Chronicles anthologies have tremendous reach. If you’re an author, this means access to a much larger audience. Having a story in one feels like a foot in the door. I want to say that this tastes a whole lot like a success. At this point, I’d need a crystal ball to know what it might turn out to be.

So before I end this post I’ll encourage you once more. “Go, my nerds, go buy this anthology before the price gets jacked up. Go, fly, buy, be nerdy!”

Now back to the grindstone.

NaNo Buddies


Well wow! The first week of November is coming to a close. I haven’t grown a mustache or a beard, but I have completed 10k words for NaNoWriMo. In case you don’t know what that means, it’s an annual program where writers pull their hair out over the course of a month trying to complete a novel. National Novel Writing Month, although it is clearly International and the 50k words necessary to win tends to be my average per month rate of writing.

Honestly, as November got closer, I wasn’t completely certain I was going to attempt it this year. We’ve got family plans at the end of the month. I’ve got house duties I need to attend to. Things will get in the way, but this year, although I began quietly, I’ve been consistently meeting the bar. I’m still not certain I’ll make 50k words by the end of the month, but it is a lot of fun trying.

So, here, a week behind schedule, is my annual request for either your time or your money. If you’re writing something, even if you don’t plan on finishing before the end of the month, come be my buddy (my NaNo username is saguache). Or, if you’re the kind of person who’d rather support creative activity belly up to the donation bar and donate a couple of clams. In either case, you’ll be doing plenty to help me, and many other writers, write something amazing.


Finally, like the sniped internet meme says at the top of the post, a request for a little signal boost. The Big Red Buckle is still on e-sale. It’s cheaper than a cup of coffee. And, in fact, sales of this book are immediately rolled over into my personal caffeination. Maintaining adequate levels of coffee induced euphoria is a constant struggle for writers. You’ve got to help me fund this habit.

Seriously, I’d really appreciate your reactions to this one. We’re only a couple of weeks away from the release of Galaxy Chronicles, and I’m hoping to leverage the potential success of that anthology to find new readers. Get in early, become a fan of my fiction now. You’ll be one of the few who will be able to say that you knew me and read me before I was popular.

That Feeling

You don't get to see the cover ... yet!

You don’t get to see the cover … yet!

This morning I got to see proofs of the cover art for the Galaxy Chronicles and it looks pretty darn good. Even better, it feels pretty darn amazing to see your name on a collection like this.

I’m proud of my contribution to this anthology. I done wrote good words. It’s a good story, in good company. Pre-orders will be available soon.

Getting Shit Together

Matt and Gigi at MP Hill Climb Summit//
Something like an enormous weight coupled with an inescapable cabin fever has consumed me. Lately, I find myself spent before I even get to the start line. At the end of every day, I’m left feeling exhausted, behind, yet unable to sleep for fear that the wave of responsibility and incomplete chores might decide to crash down on me at any moment.

Some of this I know is that I have a four-year-old (nearly five) in my charge. Whether it’s the constant and considerable messes I’m cleaning or his demand for attention I’m servicing, it sometimes feels likeI’m pushing an enormous burden up a very steep hill. So when I look at my haggard mug in the mirror I am not surprised by the image squinting back at me.

The back injury I experienced almost a year ago hasn’t helped and hasn’t gotten completely better either. I suspect much of that comes from the slight limp I’m saddled with. Added to this I’ve gained more weight, pretending I’ll be as active as I once was while eating as if I still ran forty miles a week.

Along with my own creeping dread comes the realization that I need to change things up before it really is too late. Last night, when I could have been wasting my own precious time playing video games or reading I laced up and set out into the rain for a walk in the dark. Not much, not fast. Nonetheless, a new beginning.


Some of you might be wondering why I imagine that going for a walk in the rain might be anything other than a complete waste of my already limited energy. Why I wouldn’t rather invest that time, effort and money into psychotherapy or visits to the physical therapist. Statistically, you might be right on the money. Well adjusted people all around me, who seemingly have their shit together, take the conventional route to health and wholeness.

You can’t climb up to the second floor without a ladder. When you set your aim too high and don’t fulfill it, then your enthusiasm turns to bitterness. Try for a goal that’s reasonable, and then gradually raise it. — Emil Zatopek

The rub? The best times of my life — those moments when everything came together, when I experienced moments of clarity or content, when my shit seemed unshakable — those times were realized from on top of a bedrock composed of many steps. Running and walking treats my body, mind and spirit all at the same time. It’s a sure-fire way for me to enter into that three-way flow state that I’m craving and can’t otherwise achieve.

So, new program. Get out there.


Don’t get me started on all the races I’d love to enter. I recently came across a 255 km multi-stage foot race in Iceland that gets my juices flowing. I see these people doing this fringe activity and I’m fixated. Grand-to-Grand, PCTFire+Ice — all these are on my bucket list. And the truth is that they’re all going to remain there for some time. I’ve got to choose closer goals, much closer.

  1. Right now my first and most pressing goal is to figure out how to integrate daily distance into my already committed calender. I suspect that pushing Aral around in the bulki may be a thing of the past, so I’ve got to figure out how to get miles in those spaces where he is otherwise occupied … and still have the energy to meet his needs.Given my existing routine, I’ve got two potential windows on most days. First, between 9:00 and 13:00 daily while he’s at school. Second, after he’s in bed and asleep. The early window is often consumed by writing, but I may cut back, at least for the time being, in order to reach for a weekly goal of 30 miles. Screw NaNo I guess.During the second window, I’m not usually writing, but I’m going to have to pace myself through the day to reach it and still have the moxie necessary to get out on the trail. I’ve got to do this, during the winter months, while maintaining my own basic health and fending off infection.
  2. I need to get back to writing sports in space. Yeah, you read that right. Mutually reinforcing activities build upon one another. Sort of a looping definition. Here’s the thing, I want to get excited about this and stay that way … for a very long time. I know I feel excitement about the stories I write so why not have those be my story.
  3. Without question, I need to get my gear organized. During last night’s walk, I had a growing anxiety that the batteries in my headlamp were going to die. There are no street lamps on the island, let alone in the forest, and it was wilderness-dark under the cover of those madrona trees, cave dark under the Douglas Fir. Fortunately for me, nothing died. I know that while on the trail we’re often walking along a narrow edge, so many things can go wrong, and when they do they tend to transform into cascade events.Since we moved to Vashon, I haven’t spent any time organizing my stuff. Some of it is still boxed. I don’t know where my GPS watch is and doubt that it’s charged. Shoes are stowed in the garage. All this has got to change if I hope to experience any success.
  4. I need to target getting consistent about trail time. Thirty miles a week, with no additional caveats. Just get them, any way possible. Once this is again habitual I can look at changing things up. Speeding things up or adding miles. But for now the goal is consistency.
  5. Finally, I need to record this journey. When I started this blog it was after years of writing about little more than running in Eastern Washington. We’d recently moved from that home to Colorado and at the time WordPress did not allow blog renaming (do they these days?) so I started feetforbrains because I needed a place to keep track of that part of my life. It helps to write it down.This place has a good following, and honestly, I don’t know if this is because of my science fiction or the writing about running. My hope is that they’re not mutually exclusive.


Perhaps a bit early to talk about rewards, but I’m going to keep it simple. I know I’m going to need something to look forward to so, once I’ve met or exceeded the previous goals, I’m going to give myself something to look forward to.

At this point I’m really uncertain what this is going to be, I’ve got to think about what, other than the siren song of the trail, is going to motivate me.