Less Than Random Thoughts From a Science Fiction Author and Generally Good Guy [ Fawkes ]

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

And A Merry Christmas To All, And To All A Blog From Me

Inspired by a post a friend made  http://anamericanboomerslife.blogspot.com/ , I offer my thoughts for this Christmas, 2012.
  Christmas wishes to one and all! I, yet again, wax philosophically, and want to share these thoughts with you. I hope they will help you to embrace and cherish the magic of today. My thoughts spring from the widely acknowledged understanding that Christmas is tailored for children. But, my friends, the spirit of Christmas can dwell in us at any age and in any circumstance if we are in tune with the magic. I am always humbled at the closing soliloquy Bill Murray delivers at the end of Scrooged, challenging us never to forget to go out there and make it a special season.
I think a lot of us old-folk do Christmas dinner out, go on cruises, or similarly morph the holiday. I refuse to go there. There have been Thanksgivings and Christmases where Karen and I were on our own, but we have always (she has always) prepared a proper feast and we have celebrated with the most important family member we have - each other. Mind you, the more the merrier, but just two is enough. How an individual handles the challenges of change versus tradition is deeply personal, so there is no right or wrong. Remember, it's about making yourself happy!
I guess, as an iconoclast, I have always refused to give-in to what has to be or is supposed to be done. I am perhaps the solitary avid hater of Norman Rockwell. His holiday images have poisoned the minds of untold millions. In his Saint Crispin's day speech, King Harry shouts, "And gentlemen in England now-a-bed Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here, And hold their manhoods cheap..." Similarly, The Rockwellian images of "the way the holiday is celebrated correctly" has cause far too many to hold their Christmas-experience cheap. That son-of-a-thousand-fathers!
We all must make our own happiness, our own commitment to know we were not cheated-out of a proper holiday. Christmas is about love, hope, and charity. Christmas is about acknowledging the miracle of God's grace and slowing down a moment to sense the wonder that is our lives. Keep the spirit of Christmas alive in whatever manner fits you best and it will always be alive.
Oh, and in the coming year, don't any of you be strangers. Merry Christmas to my Blog Family!

PS: Time Diving progresses and it's brilliant!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

As You Know.... Fatigue Sets in, But not the Loss of Passion

So, where have I been?  Clearly elsewhere.  Where elsewhere?  The usual suspects, work, new grandpa, writing, procrastinating - in short LIFE!  One cross I bear is that I feel I must have something to say in order to say it.  That's why I quit Twitter.  Blow-by-blow accounts of someone's thoughts, consumptions and bathroom breaks does not rise to my standard of "need-to-know".  So, I haven't posted because I generally think I have no blog-worthy news.  I am, as it turns out, rather hard on myself.

Some of you may know I am a physician.  I do primary care for adults; as we say in America, I'm an Internist.  Two years back I switch back to this pathway from a darker-calling in medicine - Worker's Compensation Medicine.  If you do not know what that is I envy you - don't learn what it is!  As a result, I am blissfully happy with my work, but it has put a real damper on my writing.  So, my current novel, Time Diving, is turning-out to be like the birthing of an elephant: long and oh so painful.   I do think the effort is worth it, because the tale and the message seems to me to be taking shape nicely.  Hopefully, someday soon, you can be the judge of that.

One thing I am learning as an author who - hopefully justifiably - prides himself on quality, is that it is worth doing the book right.  Since I am turning novels out once every 2-3 years, I need to put-forth the best effort and the best product that I can.  I see other indie authors churning-out really marginal quality product.  I have written some authors and pointed out major issues in their early works, issues which will cause any serious reader to bail.  The one's I've contacted - with but one exception - all say something to the effect that they are moving 'forward' and do not plan to 'correct' issues of the past.  This does amaze me.  If your Volume One of twenty is so poorly presented, who does the author think will stick-around to potentially read the wondrous works they are devoting their time to?  Makes no sense.

Anyway, I also split writing-time now.  I am writing a non-fiction book about my medical experience.  Oh my, you subtly whisper, just what the world needs, another swollen-headed doctor setting the world straight.  Hopefully I'm not going there!  I am coming from the angle of affording those outside medicine to see inside of it, to look at medical care from our eyes.  Plus, since I focus on anecdotes and episodes, there are some really funny - and really sad - stories.  As always, we'll see.

So, thanks again for hanging-in-there with me.  I'm slow but I'm worth it - trust me, I'm a doctor!

One major departure from the past is that I am probably not going to podcast any further books.  I think the time of the podcast novel is past.  They are very time-intensive to produce, a dwindling number of people listen, and there is no money to be made.  More importantly, my hope was that the podcasts would lead to a wider popularity for my written-produces.  This connection is definitely not present.  Abbie Hilton and Bryan Lincoln have a podcast of podcasting literature - Full Cast Podcast - in which they discuss this at length and come to pretty much the same conclusion.  Podcast listeners and book readers are two separate groups.  Plus, back in the day, a podcast was the only serious vehicle for a little fish like me to be heard.  Now, with ebooks and print-on-demand, I can access the readers of the world quite easily.  I am, at the end of the day, an author, not a producer/actor.

Well, nuf' said about me.  I hope and pray you and yours are well.  Stay tuned to witness my glacial progress..........  peace out!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I am neither dead nor lazy - just inattentive  ; )

Seriously, I am working on so many fronts that my glacial progress on Time Diving is hard to measure.  But, the ice-sheet is moving!  I have finished the last draft and am typing the edits into the final copy.   Next I will do the podcast/audiobook.  This is hard but fun, and allows me to review the text for the really-last-time.  After the podcast, I will do the ebook and paperback.  I totally like Time Diving, but, what the heck, I am the author.
So what have I been doing?  Aside from my day-job, I'm working on a non-fiction book about medicine.  I have maybe half the volume needed written.  I must await retirement to release it, as my employer is not fond of ANY mention of work-related material.  But, in a year or so, I will have a tight, brilliant book ready to spring on the world.
Just finishe Myke Bartlett's book Fire in the Sea.  Very nice, well worth a look-see.  I am stunned with Myke's Salmon and Dusk series so I was worried this new one would be off the mark.  No way, very nice.  Please check it out.
So, the podcast is at least 3-4 months off, early 2013.  I have the voices cast, but getting the lines in my computer is a ways off.  When you only do a book every 2-3 years, it pays to do it the way you want to, so I do.

Thanks for caring, and I personally guarantee you'll love Time Diving!

Friday, April 20, 2012

So, What Ever Happened To Craig?

He was so... young? No, not really. He was such a kind man...? Some would disagree. He was so kind to his dogs? Yes, there we have it!
Well, I'm not technically dead, but I sure as shootin' at bloggin'. Well, I'm forcing myself to write/edit Time Diving, and I'm making shaky progress. Also, I'm whipping out my anonymous medical blogs, so I'm pleased. I just don't think I have a lot to say about this blog. I mean, I don't actually know what it's about, now do I? I started it as support for my writing/podcasting, but I'm so under-prolific, that it seems strained.
I'm not giving-up, mind you. I'm just sayin'.
It terms of TD, I have over 300 foot notes so far! Three hundred footnotes in a speculative fiction novel - not bad if I do say so myself! Some are straight forward, but some are marvelously superfluous and silly.... brilliant!


Sunday, March 18, 2012


I have my third book, Write Now! The Prisoner of NaNoWriMo, for sale as both an ebook and a paperback. If you go to Amazon, it costs $13.99. If you ask me nicely, I'll probably give you a copy free. Why then on Amazon are there two listings for "Used" copies starting at $42.56? I wrote the darn book and I wouldn't want anyone to spend that much! [Well, maybe if they really wanted to, and they had, say, cash - but that's a specific subset not on-the-table for discussion here, now] What are they, first editions? Wait, they're ALL are first editions!! Oh my.....

You Know What's Tedious?

Transcribing! I print a paper copy of each finished-edit of a book and hand-correct it. In the present case I'm doing Time Diving. Then I have to type-in the newer version. BORING! It is essential, but it is not creative or fun or anything but drudgery. Oh well, have to break eggs to make a fritatta, right?
What else can I do to procrastinate? Where's that dear sweet cat? I'll bet someone needs a tummy-rub. Here kitty kitty......

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Okay, I've Been Bad

I know, how can I expect to run a blog and represent myself if I don't post-up, right? No good excuses. I have been busy at work, which is normal - no complaints on my part. I have dabbled with Time Diving, but not a whole lot. Mostly I've written for my medical blog (the anonymous one which so far no one is following). It is brilliant! I know, wow, a dude who loves his own work. I hope to have it as a book in a couple years, once I have a sufficient volume of essays/blogs. Wow, so no one can either read it now or no one can read it later - brilliant!

I'll keep you posted........

Saturday, February 25, 2012

So Where Have You Been, Craig?

So, sorry to have been unposted - again - for a while. I tend to partion my leisure time and focus unequally on what excites me the most at the time. What have I been partioning-into? I started a new blog, a medical blog. It is my second anonymous blog. One is a critic of literature blog in which I review honestly the work of people I know and even so I've worked with. To maintain my credibility, I write under a pseudonym. The medical blog is anonymous for a couple of reasons. There is a patient confidentiality barrier I need to respect, for one thing. I am discrete and clever, so it's not likely I will violate any limit, but it is prudent of now. The main reason is to stay, for the time being, off the radar of those among my employers who object to most things. I don't want to risk them censoring my efforts needlessly. Ultimately I plan on coalescing the stories on the blog into a book. Most of my writing time now is devoted to this work. I am really having fun! I am even setting aside little to no time from the final edit of Time Diving, so you know I must be hot-to-trot. Anyone who wants to check out my 'anonymous' blog is welcome to email me at anontimenovel@yahoo.com or leave your email in the comment section and I'll send you the link. All you have to promise to do is not 'out-me.'

Saturday, February 11, 2012

I Am So Amazed

Well, I am officially humbled and amazed and pleased as punch (for all you old enough to remember VP Hubert Humphrey). I released my first podcast novel, Anon Time, in August 2009. Since then I released The Innerglow Effect and Write Now! TPN, at yearly intervals. Today I did one of my infrequent statistical reviews. Color me impressed! From absolute obscurity to now, 2 1/2 years later, the total number of individual listeners worldwide who have finished one of my podcasts is around 9100!!! The top 5 areas for downloads, accounting for 80% of the total, are USA, China, Iran, UK, and Canada. I have numerous listeners in places I have honest-to-goodness never heard of.
I began pushing my printed books, ebooks and paperbacks, much later - maybe a year ago. My sales are 'skinny' - yeah, that's what we'll call it. It is not surprising, in the end. In podcasting, I am a middling-sized fish in a small pond. In publishing, I am a paramecium in an enormous pond. It is really really really hard to get noticed. The good news:

1. I have a day job;
2. I am in no hurry;
3. Over 9100 people have completed one of my stories on audio. I am not nothing!

What few reviews I have received for the works as a whole are quite up-lifting. Most reviews are pretty darn good. That, I'll have you know, is a good thing. It means I do not suck. Not sucking is cool! I have heard many a podcast and read many a book in the last 2 1/2 years which do very much challenge credulity as to whatever possessed their creators to author - let alone release - them.
So, I am tickled-pink. I am smiling real big in my head. I am going to literally hold my head a tad higher. I am a validated author!
So, what is my odd, rather unanticipated response to being actually capable of creating a valid work of art, to reach-out and touch someone in a very special way? To be able to make a positive difference in another person's life is a very rare, coveted, and precious thing. My perverse twist is this. I am a physician, a very good one. I do not say that out of hubris or lightly. As a good physician, I have a very positive impact on several people a day - honestly I do. Two to three times a week, I effect a life-altering change in someone. Honest-to-goodness, about one a month I make a decision which saves someone's life in the short-term. So, I am amazed that with all the terrific karma I'm pulling-down, all the strokes to my ego I get-back, that the effect I can have as an author should matter to me at all. I mean, someone laughs for a few hours after reading Write Now! is a good thing. But shouldn't the value I place on that be dwarfed by the satisfaction of making the correct diagnosis and curing someone after multiple other physicians have failed? Again, I do not pat-my-own-back to impress you, but to place you in my frame of reference.
I'll tell you this. The scene in Field of Dreams where the doctor, played so well by Bert Lancaster, remarks to the effect that to not be a pro-ball player was sad, but to never have been a doctor, now that would have been a tragedy. Man, I hear his words as I type. And then, you know what? I wonder if Doc Graham - you know - ever wrote a little poetry, maybe a haiku or two. Just wonderin'..........

NB: Did you know Doc Graham was a real person and was extremely accurately protayed in the movie? Yes indeed he was. I hope I meet him beyond the corn-rows of the life's outfield........

Friday, February 3, 2012

Give Me A Big Juicy Kiss, Friday, You Fool

Come here, you gorgeous babe, Friday. I want to sweep you off your feet and show you, in private, just how glad I am to feel your touch. Freedom, possibility, and peace - what more could anyone ask of you? If only you could stay.... longer (eyebrows shooting up and down). You know, till, I don't know, maybe Monday...........


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Okay, Monday. I Think I'm Ready

So, here's my plan. I jump off this cliff - you know - and things will work out fine - right? Yeah, that's my Monday plan. Alarm goes off, I shower, drive to work, and - bingo - things work out. Right? Why are you snickering? Did not your mother tell you it is disrespectful and cheeky to snicker at someone who is baring their soul (well at least sole, okay). No, really, I leap from this here cliff, notice no chute or rope. Nah, something will work out. It has to, right. I mean if it don't (yes, I'm British now, maybe even English) then - what? Splat?? Well that can't happen - no way. I mean, if it could, it already would'a, and it ain't, so sumpin' will pop-up. Yeah, then it will be a brilliant week - pure brilliant!
Running start - blind confidence of the believer... and bonzai....

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Harder Than I Thought

So, making progress on TD is turning out to be harder than I anticipated. I am getting V_E_R_Y busy at work and, darn it all, that's interfering with my writing. So unjust! I work through many lunches and stay very late, but I am doing a hell of a job. Also, it is rewarding. On weekends, I have other priorities (aka 'honey-does') which need time, so writing is pushed to the rear. This is unfortunate, but there is little wiggle-room. I guess this is okay, since I have a reason to fail. Silly? I don't know about you, but I tend to procrastinate and avoid tasks. So, if I have a good reason to not do something, well then I am justified, right?
Also, I have written the book. Its final version will be very similar to the state it is in. Hence, the creativity is gone. The skills of writing are there, but not the magic. Plus, my mind drifts to the next opus. Fiction or non-fiction. I feel that as a physician, I should write some wondrous work explaining/exposing/defending my very crucial area of expertise. But I don't have a burning issue to douse. My creative mind drifts back to spec fiction. I guess I'll do what I want to. Why do I have this yearning to pen a popular book? Vanity and a striving after wind, I guess. Validation and reward. I want to be better than the next guy - most of the next guys. In Lycidas, Milton writes: "fame is not a plant which on mortal soil grows." Best to keep that in mind, eh what?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

In case I forgot to mention, I am proceeding with leaps and bounds on Time Diving. I chalk that alacrity up to my organizational acumen. Say what? You do not believe me! Well I never....
Okay, yeah, I'm slow and unorganized and ice cubes freeze faster than I make progress, but I'm chipping-away at it. As I have mentioned before my busy new job keeps me from the keyboard, but what's an employee to do, I ask you? And so it goes...
But, as I re-re-re-edit I am cleaning things up and I am impressing myself as to how good the book is. Whether it will impress anyone else is the real issue, but I'm all-in.
I hope your 2012 is starting off well, greatly in fact. Oh, and GO NINERS!!! (that's American football, for my foreign readers).

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Where There Is Hope - There Is Life

I do truly believe that hope is the key, the gift which pulls us thought the darkness if we let it. Hope is a wondrous force and one with infinite power. All I need to do is continue to know it is there, cherish it, nurture it, and let is save me.
Heavy philosophy for early on a Saturday morning? Yes, I rather guess it is. Is there a reason I mention it just now, some horrific twist of fate or ill-omen come-upon me? Nope. I simply fancy I needed to remind myself - and you - to keep hope alive.
It's actually quite hard to speak of hope without employing, or at least struggling to avoid the use of, a myriad of cliches. Hope is the answer, says the song. Faith, hope, and charity, says the church. It also is pulled-into vacant thoughtless automatic remarks, as in 'hope you feel better soon.' When we all say that, is it because we stopped and thought deeply over their condition and as a result of that reflection we actively and expectantly 'hoped' for their recovery? Probably not.
So what does hope mean to me? It means a lot, really it does. It is very easy, justifiably easy, to fall into a hum-drum pattern of work, stress, worry, and preoccupation with the mundane. Hope is the blessing which offers me a leg-up to see beyond those perversities. I practice to keep hope alive in my heart and I do feel its consolation. You should try it too - often! Where do I apply it? Well, both to myself, to my loved-ones, and to this world. Most specifically, I apply it to my patients. I hope for them to improve. I also hope for them to feel the miracle of having hope. The hope I wish upon them is to know there is both improvement possible, if not recovery, and that someone cares.
The risk in all this hope-iness is that I do so out of vanity, some smug, self-righteous sense of "I'm better than the next guy." I hope that is not the case. It would not speak well for me, now would it?
Every day in clinic I tangle with a patient who should be, and may in fact be, bereft of hope. If I can allow them to hope for a better status, well then, dude, I done good. There is always some call for hope, actually often quite a lot.
You know what floors me, *headdesks* me the most? When I offer real, tangible, palpable hope to a down-trodden soul and they reject it - often angrily. It's a real step-back moment. If you were locked in pain, confined to near immobility, and condemned to poverty as a result of that suffering, and someone offered you realist hope, how could you refuse it? I know intellectually why they do, but it such a dark-evil spirit which impels them - and I cry a little and, yes, I die a little each to I see it. I see it a lot.
Not really. You know why? Sure you do! Because most of the time the person accepts the gift of hope and many time they experience transformative improvement. I don't mean cure, I mean an improvement in how bad they feel, how alone they feel, and they allow themselves to once again hope.
You know what floors me even more than hope-rejectors? Individuals who are in the sacred position of being able to offer hope and do not. In my microcosmic world, that would be medical providers who stare at a person desperate for a life-line, a life-saver, and not only do they not extend the offer, they don't see that they have it in their power to do so.
Wow, talk about a costly fumble - for both parties.
Glad that's not me and I hope it never is.
Now, get out there and hope, God love ya! Don't make me come over there and slap you upside the head.

PS: I promise the next one will be less heavy, okay?