Ho Ho Ho: An early present from the person who runs The Asylum

 

To many of us, November is the start of the holiday season and the time of year when our already busy lives get even busier. Yet, in a lot of ways it is filled with fun, laughter and the making of memories – which all of us need. I know Towanna has something up her sleeve which she will not even hint what it is. I am stuck waiting until she divulges what it is – whenever that will be. Bah humbug – I hate waiting when I don’t know the secret.

This month was hard in a few ways for Towanna and me (for different reasons) which I am not going to discuss at this time.  We are communicating with each other and helping each other through what is going on, and that is what counts the most. The least amount said, the better it will be. Besides this isn’t time or place to discuss those reasons. When the time is right and we have created our personal blogs, which is after we are published, we will begin to divulge more of our personal sides to everyone.

This month has been busy for both of us in the personal and professional arenas. Such is life – right? We have moved forward with the book, the start of my first short story and Towanna’s business venture outside of writing.

We long last finished the writing of chapter one of our novel. I sat on it for so long, I can’t believe it’s finally finished. To be honest, I was dancing in my wheelchair because we are done – that is literally not figuratively. There was a scene that was extremely hard for me to write. It took a lot of coaching and support from Towanna for me to get through it. Once it was in her hands, we seem to zip on through to the end. We have semi-polished it and it’s off to our first reader. We have high hopes it will be enjoyed and not too much has to be changed when we receive it back.

At the beginning of this month, I started a short story – a prequel to our novel. I had time on my hands while Towanna work to organize both her jobs and catch up in her share of the writing. I think I was driving her up the wall because she told me to get lost and find something to work on. So off to writing I went and the short story came to life. Being I am use to writing in long form, I soon ran into trouble. By this time, Towanna was caught up and we re-focused on chapter one. So the short story waits quietly in the trunk until it is resurrected again. Towanna has already warned me that it is not there to stay – it will be completed. All I can do is sit here and think, “A story I put into the trunk – completed? I heard miracles happen. Time will tell who wins this one.”

Chapter two of the novel is well under its way. Due to circumstances out of our control, Towanna has had to put the novel down for a while to deal with issues that life has tossed her way but I am still forging ahead. She will soon be caught up and then it will be full steam ahead.

Speaking of Towanna, her business idea is starting to take off finally.  She will be busier than ever once the center is open. I am worried she’ll spread herself too thin and burn out but she reassures me she has a secret weapon that will prevent that and for some reason, I believe her. I sure wish her all the happiness in this business venture. She deserves success and wealth in life and this venture has a high success rate. I will not go into details of what the business is but I feel it deep inside me – it’s a money  maker for me (shush – don’t tell her I said that – lol) I am extremely pleased because it will provide us the income that we will need solely between the royalty checks. Despite what you might think, an author only gets only a small percentage of book sells, and the rest goes to their agent and the publisher. Oh my, she has just told me, I will be double dipping to – I have to help her with her business – oi vey – watch out world here we come.

This month sure has been very prosperous for us and I hope December will be even better. I am hoping the short story will be ready for Towanna to edit and put her two cents in by the New Year. Then the story will be off into the world to find itself home. Towanna is hoping chapter two will be done by the New Year. I think she is nuts but she is determine. When that woman gets determined to do something she is like the insane train Blaine from Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. Nothing can stop her and she refuses to slow down or quit until she gets where she wants to be. How this month will turn out, I have no clue. I know I will be pushing us and Towanna says she is definitely going to push us (like that is something new.)

To close, Towanna and I would like to take the time to wish everyone a very happy and safe holiday. May your homes be filled with family and friends (and insane characters) as well as good will, peace and love.

Can We Have a Word?

In Junior High, I realized I had a talent for writing. It was a very easy source of communicating efficaciously so I latched on to it with both hands and didn’t let it go. For a short time, in my late teens, I put writing to the side to go off into the world to fulfill a dream that I had of being a computer scientist. After fate stepped in, I returned home and reflected on what I was going to do with my life.  After a short period of time, I found writing once again and that is what I have been doing ever since.

I feel my true disability is not my CP but my speech impediment. Sure, having CP, does have its disadvantages, but growing up I thought I was normal. I couldn’t walk – so what. I still was able to get around to places I needed to go. What slowed me down was that unless a person knew me well; communicating was a pain in the ass. I found the world of online chat rooms and communication and it opened a whole new world for me. Currently, I am working on getting a communication device that all I have to do is type it in and hit one button and it says verbally what I have typed.

Why is this so important to me? Well, the fact that it is portable and can go anywhere and everywhere I go is one reason. I won’t have to worry about someone understanding my speech; nor will I have to rely on the person I am with to translate for me. This will give me more freedom and independence; which is something I have always longed for.

For too long, I have allowed my speech problems to create a hermit and loner with in me.  I have to get use to the idea I have tools on hand that can help me evolve into a productive person. In order to get my novel published, I have to write. In order for the novel to sell, I have to get out amongst the fans. Therefore, it is long overdue that I find ways to do that instead of hiding in the shadows.

As I said earlier, I had allowed my disability to create a person within me that I don’t want to be.  In 2008, I went to my first convention and I learned that writers do more then write. They have readings, book signings, blogs, and network to name a few. They get out there among the people and socialize. This was my wake up call to get my ass in gear and do something about my inability to communicate properly. While my speech impediment is still my greatest disability, I am now taking steps to overcome it.

While I often wonder where I would be in life if I had become a computer scientist, I am happy and content how my life is now. I am a writer and a damn good one at that. I have a great source of support through Towanna, my family, and friends. I know my readers will want to see me and talk to me. I used to think I could avoid that, but now I see how unfair it would be not only to my readers but to me as well.

I know, without a doubt, I was destined to become a writer. Sure I avoided it for a few years but I knew there was no escaping it. I am glad fate stepped in. I had a character in my head that would not let me alone.  Surely, this character would have driven me insane (more insane than I already am) if I avoided him. As most writers say once you have one character stuck in your head, more will show up eventually even if you don’t want them to.  I am one of the lucky few that wants characters to crowd my head until my last dying breath.

My advice to writers who have a speech impediment or any other disability is to find what will work for you. It will be hard work; at times, it will seem like you are fighting a losing battle, and you will become frustrated with the journey that you will want to give up but don’t.  It is well worth it in the end.  Those with disabilities can still write and have best sellers just like any other writer; we just have to work harder at it, and that is ok.  Just believe in yourself and your work, and great things will come your way.  Our fans will love us for it.

Ode to the Old Man

Today is Thanksgiving Day, and I would like to talk about one person in particular that I have been blessed to know. This person was known by me as “The Old Man.”  Besides my Mom and Dad, which I am thankful for; my grandfather has been the most influential person in my life.

He was a fine southern gentleman, strong, sure of what he wanted out of life, and a great family man. There wasn’t a day that went by where he didn’t work hard and play harder. He was well loved and respected by many.

One thing I will always remember about him is how he always had faith in me to be the best person that I could be. Never once would he allow me to use my disability as a crutch. Another thing that I will always remember is following him around like a little lost puppy as he mowed the two acres of grass that he done faithfully. I am sure everyone can remember my most favorite time of all with him. That being all the years he would get a puzzle (with Grandmom’s encouragement) that the whole family would put together beginning on Thanksgiving Day and lasting over the holiday season.

I am digressing on purpose. It has only been ten months since he passed away. I always thought that by now, I would have a better grip on his passing. I am man enough to say, I still shed joyful tears when I talk about him. While writing this blog, I have stopped several times to reflex as tears flowed.  As with many of the family and friends he had, I miss him a lot more on days like today. He was always the life of the party – and what fun we all had.

He taught me so many of life’s lessons – to many to count. If I would take the time to count them, it would take eons to get them all listed. However, in this blog, I want to discuss only the four main lessons he taught which I am thankful for.

The first thing he taught me was how to be a true southern gentleman.  Those who know me well will say that I am brash and bratty. That may be true but if you look deeper you will find that true southern gentleman that “The Old Man” was. I love to have fun and I will tease you mercilessly if I like you but I know how to open the doors and tip my hat to the ladies.

The next thing he taught me was about loyalty to your family and friends. I have always had a great wealth in family but friends have been hard for me to make due to my speech impediment. When I do make friends – even when I get lucky and get a girlfriend – I cherish the relationship and am very loyal and dedicated to them. There are not enough words in the English language for me to put on paper that would cover the value I put on friends and family.

The third life lesson “The Old Man” taught me was only do what I have a conviction for. To stand behind that which I believe in, fight for the rights of the underdog, if I want something go for it and don’t quit until I have it, and always be honorable in everything I do. Lying, cheating, stealing and other such acts had no place in his life and he didn’t want it in mine.

The last thing I would like to say about my grandfather is that he had a wealth of faith in me and never gave up. From an early age, he seen the talent I held with in me to be a writer. He always encouraged me to write. I never understood his convictions over the last twenty years but now I do. I wished I could have gotten the meaning before he passed away. I have always wanted him to see me holding my first published novel. I know that he is looking down on me and is very proud I am finally getting out of my procrastination stage and writing again. I know he sees my determination to get my first project written and published. I know when my novel is published; he will be looking down from Heaven smiling ear to ear saying “That’s my Wade. He did it.”  Knowing that gives me peace but oh how grand it would be if he could be here to get my first copy. Sometimes I think that Towanna and The Old Man have met and they are plotting against me; pushing me to accomplish what they know I have within me. That is ok – between them both – I know I will be published one day.

So here is to “The Old Man” – Judge Milliken – a salute. Rest in peace: I love and miss you old man.

Pssssssssttttttttt, can you talk to the big guy up there to see if he can help the Cubs win the World Series next year? A Devine intervention is needed.

The Accountability is the Key

The novels Towanna and I will write are character-driven. By character driven, I mean the character is the power behind the plot moving forward. With that comes the deepest of need for the writer to be held accountable for open communication and honesty between the novel and writer. By accountability, I mean the writer is responsible for telling the story the way it should be written not formalistically.

I feel that character-driven novels can and sometimes do pick up the personality of the writer. In this current project we are working on, we are trying to make the main character as open and honest as Towanna and I are. Our main character tends to be fallacious every chance he gets. He likes surprising us every now and again. His voice needs to be heard. We want his voice heard, but at the same time, we are the writers and we must maintain some control.

Many that know me will think my character is just as crazy as I am. Even Towanna often thinks I am nuttier then a fruit cake when we discuss our projects – so who knows. I hope that we do not make this main character nuttier the main character in The Shining turned out to be. One insane person in this trio is more than enough. LOL

I feel very strongly that I must cooperate with my character as he comes out from the dark corners of my mind and hits the screen. While I know he is a creation of ours, to me, he is still a person that deserves respect. He has a few serious issues that he is working on throughout in this novel. It is our responsibility to allow him the time and space to solve his own problems.

As I said, I feel that characters can achieve the personality of the writer. In this project, I am finding the main character can be as stubborn as I am known to be. He tends to fight back when we are pushing him forward. He can be the biggest uncooperative bastard I know. We give him the time and space that he needs then we begin to push him forward. Our main character has always thought that I am stubborn and now he has met Towanna. Towanna can dig her feet in and hold her ground better than our main character and I put together. When we are ready to move on, if I can’t get our character into the forward march mode, Towanna does.

If a writer is not held accountable for his character’s actions, the story falls dead in the water then
it won’t sell. It is a delicate balance between everything a writer is responsible for and how it is written in the novel. When I sit down and type out the first draft then look back, I have found times where the writing can be salvaged and times it can’t be. I know if I hear Towanna groan when she reads what I have written, that there is a major lack of something in what I have accomplished and that a long tour of duty in the word mine is in my near future.

Every story that an author writes teaches him/her a new technique or valuable lesson.  Our current project has taught me to be accountable for my work and the well-being of our main character. This novel is teaching me to have patience and understanding. Another very lesson I have learned so far, is that I can work through the difficult scenes. I have become quite the procrastinator and stubborn over the last twenty years when it came too hard to write scenes.

I know I have to hold myself accountable for what I say, do and write in life – especially in my novel. The most valuable lesson I have learned was to ensure that my disability is considered in all things. I feel I have grown a lot as a writer this year thanks to the great support network I have. I also learned that while I am disabled, I shouldn’t use it as an excuse to procrastinate or ignore things I need to do to get this novel written.

The Same Old Song and Dance

Everyone needs something that can keep their attention on the task at hand. For some, it is the television or a DVD movie. For others, it is total quiet – no noise inside or out. For others, it is a cuddly kitten in their lap. For me, it is music. I am sure that I am not the only one that works better with their favorite tunes blaring driving others crazy.

I like the loud, progressive rock as well as classic rock. Classic rock does well to wake me up to or while in the car, and the progressive rock while writing.  Towanna is a country gal – all the way. She is the type that needs everything off for her to get her writing done. She keeps threatening to get me a set of headphones and glue them on my head while I am writing. She has recently even mention about putting me out on the south forty and sound proofing the building. I think my father would love that. He hates my music but I have tried other genres and they just don’t work for me.

The music has to fit into what I am writing. The beat and lyrics has to be in sync with the drama that I am writing in order to keep me drawn into my work. It is nothing for me to change the radio station four or five times in one writing session. Hey – whatever works, right?

If my girlfriend is not around and I am not motivated, I have a few select groups that do very well in propelling me into my chair with hands on the keyboard. Once that occurs, I have my groups that help me get into my groove. Once that is achieved, then I can set my radio station with any and all music of my beloved genre that is going to drive most insane, and write for hours.

I have been told by some that they have to have the same songs by the same artist or that they have to have things set up just the right way for the whole day in order for them to get task done. As the saying goes – variety is the spice of life. I have to have a variety of artists, as well as songs with or without lyrics, for me to make it through my day of creativity. I do not understand how people can listen to the same thing day in and day out – to each their own. It would drive the writer in me bonkers.

With the current projects that Towanna and I are working on at the moment, I find myself changing stations quite frequently. It keeps things fresh in my mind and the creativeness with in me flowing.  I find this ironic because outside my writing, I have to have everything pretty much on a strict schedule or done a specific way in order to control the emotional side of my disability. Obviously, it depends on my mood that day and what may or may not be happening around me.

Sometimes, I may be sitting at my computer; looking like I am sleeping and someone will walk up to see if I am ok. If my music is on and up, all I am doing is getting into the mindset to write. So if you ever see someone hunched over their laptop with a faraway look in their eyes, check to see if they are breathing and just watch over them. They could be doing the same thing I do – setting the scene for a successful writing experience.

Remember the Thing Called Patience

Recently, I read a weekly blog by Misty Massey at Magical Words called WaitingIn it, she was talking about how a reader was acting as if it was the worse crime on earth to have to wait for what was to be a May 2012 book release of another author.  Imagine that – someone in our society having to slow down and wait on something – in this rush, rush; I need it yesterday – world.

When I read Misty Massey’s blog, my blood began to boil – not at Misty Massey of course but at the insensitive, whiny, selfish reader.  Would this reader like for David Coe to go to her work and raise hell because she was not doing her job in the timely manner he felt she should be doing it in?

No one wants to value the old adage of – good things come to those that wait. Misty Massey described her yearnings and how it felt to have to wait on the release of a book or for special days like Christmas to arrive. My girlfriend is the same way. She builds up slowly anticipating the date of something special to her then when she gets it; she takes the time to cherish it before she enjoys it. What has happen to the Misty’s and Towanna’s of this world?

When I was in Junior High School, I was given a writing assignment which made me realize that I had a creative side deep with me waiting to get out. When I was about 15, I found the series called The Dark Tower written by Stephen King along with the book he wrote called It.  Both the series and the book nudged me into my writing career.

I remember how much I enjoyed part one of The Dark Tower series – The Gunslinger. I wanted more than anything for part two – Drawing of the Three – to be out the next time I went to the book store. Needless to say it wasn’t. There were a total of 7 books to this series. The time span between each book was at least a few years and I was eagerly waiting patiently for each book to be released. Stephen King had me on the edge of my seat that is for sure. The wait for the next book to come out seemed like an eternity but I was happy to wait for such fine creativity to grace my door steps but yet I still wanted it like yesterday. To occupy my time and wait, I did read books by other authors; every time I went to the book store, I would make sure I looked for another Stephen King book. As soon as I found the next book, I purchased it then would drive my mother insane to get home so I could read it. Yes, I dropped everything when a new book of the series hit the book stores.

To me, there is an unspoken loyalty, trust and devotion between a reader and their author. For a writer to come up with such creativity in a way that a reader is dying to see what happens next is not an easy job to do. Don’t get me wrong, after a period of months of waiting for a next book in that series to come out, I too got frustrated. Nevertheless, I do not agree with this reader’s reaction to such a release date.  A release date of anything is totally up to the publisher. Rather it is a music cd, a movie or a novel – the publisher releases it when the company has room or feels it’s the right time. Release dates are out of the writer’s control.

It takes time – all great things takes time. To me, writing a novel is like giving a part of my soul to millions of people.  I don’t ask for much in return – just some patience and understanding that I am doing the best job I can to get my next project out. Due to my disability, I struggle some days to get words on paper. I refuse to give up – I know I can do it and I hope and pray my readers and
future readers will be able to see that.  I hope for Towanna’s and my sake that our readers will be more patient and understanding.

Report Card Time

Another month has passed – where did the time go? It sure has been a busy one. By the middle of the month, I thought I had lost what little bit of insanity that I had over asking Towanna to be part of this. (Oi vey- what was I thinking?)  But dang it, her style of organization, her ability to set realistic goals and her patience actually works for me and that lead to me getting more work done this month then I have in over a year. Just think – people say there is no such thing as miracles.

At the beginning of this month, Towanna and I discussed how on the last day of each month that we would both post to ourblogs about our progress throughout the month. This is to be a joint endeavor – with appropriate references for each post. Now that it is the last day of October 2011 – here it is.

We feel the most important thing we have accomplished this month was taking 10 giant steps backwards (in my case, 10 giant rolls), taking a deep breath then getting organized. I am a pantsers all the way – go, go, go- then have to search high and low later for what I need. Towanna is the type that gets organized early and remains that way. For three or four weeks in September, we both worked in a semi- unorganized manner (which I loved at the time.) Then I became the energizer bunny – I kept going and going and going with no end in sight. Towanna just about pulled her hair out as I kept pushing her with more thoughts, ideas, and things we needed to do. She admits now that she thought the energizer bunny had become rechargeable and that I had an extra one around. Finally, Towanna had had enough. She told me it was time to be a bit organized – and organized we got. While I haven’t admitted to her (so please no one tell her), I actually enjoy the newfound organization.

The next thing we did was to set realistic goals. We now have my goals, her goals, and our goals. All my life, I have always put my disability to the side and tried to do everything just like the average person could. In the case of my writing, I tried to be like Stephen King, Elizabeth Bear, or Tad Williams. I have always set extremely high goals for myself and was never getting anything accomplished. Then I either would be freaked out or get depressed over it. Towanna helped me realize that while I can become just as good of writer as the BNA’s, my avenue of approach had to be different. Different approach – same result. Over the course of a few weeks, I noticed that Towanna was beginning to grow quiet. When I ask her what was wrong, it was as if I opened a floodgate to her feelings. She told me that she was already in need of a vacation. When I realized what I was doing to not only her but to myself, I agreed to step back and relook at everything. What I didn’t know is that during her quiet times, she was observing our days and making notes (always watch out for the quiet ones.) She did some research into goal setting then we had a nice long talk – well, she did the talking; I did the listening (at first.) In the end, we both worked at setting more reasonable goals.

Towanna will tell you that I was like the energizer bunny. I kept picking up speed without looking back – like the energizer bunny on meth. She often called me a bear that became my nickname. I know now when she talks to Bear or uses the BICHOK that I need to look at what I am doing. It wasn’t uncommon for me to come up with new ideas and projects on a daily basis, adding to the long list of “to do” things. Over the last twenty years, I became consumed with the idea I must write so many words a day or I would never be published. I worried so much about how many words I was writing a day that I didn’t begin to get any fair amount written. I was driving her insane over it (I had already driven myself insane over it.) One day, Towanna gave me a challenge – to write without thinking of word count – just for one day to get BICHOK and write. The next day, I got up and did just that. I actually got more words typed that morning then I had in the pass week. She encouraged me to do the same thing the next time. I did and again was met with success. I began to enjoy the newfound success I was having. We have dubbed it “free writing.” It has been a hard habit to break – that of having no word count per day. I am not perfect at it but I am slowly getting the hang of it. I am a work in progress (WIP).

This is not to say that I am the only one on this team that over extends themselves (hmmm, and she fussed at me for doing the same thing?) Towanna is notorious about taking on more than she should, without communicating what all is going on or how it is affecting her. She had a very hectic real life then adds on to it by becoming my co-writer. All the demands of her real time along with all the demands I was making of her almost sent her into pure exhaustion – not to mention a strait jacket. She had been well organized and disciplined from day one. Suddenly she was forgetting things and loosing things. It wasn’t until I ask her what going on that she finally admitted that it was getting to be too much.

With organization and wise goals set (for both of us), we return to writing or the continuation of writing of our first project. I was entering a very hard to write scene that I spent days working on. With her help, we completed it. With that completed, came the close of chapter one. This is when Towanna made it know she would be honored to officially become my co-writer. I was thrilled. While she was off reviewing and adding her creativity to what I had written, I began another project (what is new about that – I have always started many projects that are now sitting waiting on me to finish.) It parallels the same universe as our first project. For those who know me – brace yourself – it is a short story. Many have suggested I write a short story but I always balked at it. I can’t believe I am actually saying this, but I am looking forward to not only writing but also the sale of a piece of short fiction.

I feel great about both projects and have faith in both Towanna and I that one day we will be published authors. Keeping in line with our goals, open and honest communication with each other, patience, and love will all contribute to our success.

Oh, btw, one last thought before I go. To Andrew – please don’t have cardiac arrest but this is the same project I have been writing the last twenty years. I will finish the novel this time around. Okay, okay, Andrew – breathe, stop laughing so hard- breathe, Andrew breathe.