Tag Archives: Fiction Writing

Red Hot Boogie Woogie!

Happy to be included in La Dance Diabolique: A Red Hot Boogie Woogie. I’m all dressed up in hot pink! You can’t miss me. Hahaha! I also got in a plug for Wicked Tales.
“Joining us today are six hot rising stars to discuss the relationship between writers and their audience.”

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March in Review

The momentum continues… I guess this is turning into a newsletter of my life. I hope it’s inspiring you to keep a list of your challenges and accomplishments throughout the year. I promise you that goal setting will change your life.

Writing

Short fiction

  • I signed the contract for inclusion in the 3rd annual New England Horror Writers anthology. You’ll be able to find my horror science fiction story “Sat Down Inside Her” in that collection this summer.
  • Halloween’s Child Redux–the reimagining of this horror thriller short story has been slow going, but I’m already 3,500 words in. That’s 500 words over the original word count. I’m thinking this one could end up at 6k+ by the time it’s complete. A new title will, of course, go with this new version.
  • I also worked on the reimagining of another short story (I never list short story titles until they sell. This way editors won’t have any way of knowing how long my story has been in circulation once it lands in their slush pile. I’m tricky like that). I had already completed the new version of the story, but wasn’t happy with the ending. I found a way to strengthen the conclusion, but I have no idea where this will find a home.
  • I began reading the new issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction with an eye toward submission. We’ll see if I get any ideas.

Novels

  • Year of the Demon (Conspiracy/Crime Thriller): I’m slogging through the edits on this 90,000 word novel. I need to spend more time on this polish edit, and then go onto the next phase of the process.
  • The Tower (Paranormal Haunting/Woman in Jeopardy Crime Thriller): I’m now just under 25,000 words, approximately 97 pages.
  • Proxy Mate (Dystopian SF): I ended up putting this novella on hold this month. We’ll have to see what next month brings. I still feel pretty good about this one.

Reading

  • I finished The Vanishing Magic of Snow by Reb MacRath and deemed it a MacRathian Masterpiece. You can read my review here.
  • I’m still working through the Indie Author Power Pack. I’m 68% in and just finished Let’s get Digital.
  • I read and enjoyed Richard Chizmar’s The Box. The story is available to read through free pdf. Follow the link to give it a read.
  • My copy of Submerged (signed Limited Edition) by Tom Monteleone arrived. It’s a beautiful book. I hope there’s an e-version eventually. The book is so nice I’m afraid to crack it open.

Networking

  • I continued to keep up with my writer friends on social media.
  • I bought passes to Anthocon.
  • I made reservations at the hotel for the convention weekend.
  • I continued to work on editing a novella for a writer friend. I’ve been very slow getting to the edits.

Marketing

I researched using MailChimp for a mailing list. I read that mailing lists are the most underutilized marketing tool in a writer’s tool chest. I learned that to meet federal law I need to list my address in the signature of any emails I send out. This would mean getting a P.O box or mail drop if I want to ensure my privacy. I’m going to wait at this point, but I’ll keep it on the radar.

Family

  • Called my Mom & Dad twice a week on average this month.
  • Called my Aunt and wished her a happy birthday.
  • Donated to ONE Spirit in my sister’s name.
  • We got haircuts.
  • Put a St. Paddy’s Day card as a surprise in Patty’s lunch.
  • Sent a B-Day card to one of my nephews.

Martial Arts

  • Purchased Ron Balicki‘s Filipino boxing DVD set. I was really amazed at how much information he included in this set. I had the opportunity to watch a sample of the JKD video set and was very impressed with the production, the breadth of information, and the clarity of instruction on the DVD set. I decided to begin with Filipino Boxing, but I’m sure I’ll be picking up his 8 disk JKD instructors series in the near future.
  • Luckily, because of my 27+ years of experience in martial arts, along with a pervious teacher who integrated some Filipino martial arts and Jeet Kune Do Concepts into our training (he never mentioned it, but because of my research, I can see it now), and a small amount of Kali and  Bruce Lee’s “Original” JKD training from seminars, I’ve been able to incorporate the drills and concepts into our home training.
  • We worked Filipino boxing (punching and kicking drills) 2x a week. We also began working on a joint locking flow drill. Patty has found this curriculum the most interesting of any martial arts we’ve practiced.
  • I continued to practice Kali sinawali.
  • I continued to practice the chain punching/straight blasts  I learned from Sigung Taky Kuimura and his staff.
  • A Kali Guro invited us to stop up and train on a Tuesday night. It’s been a little difficult lately to make the time commitment, but it was very nice to be invited. Hopefully we’ll be able to stop up soon.

Fitness & Health

  • I lost just about two pounds of fat this month. Notice I said fat. I didn’t say water or muscle. That’s an important distinction. I’ve lost almost an inch off my belly and a half inch off my waist.
  • I’m still working to get out of the Biphasic sleeping pattern. I tend to go to sleep too late and wake up too early, requiring that I nap before doing anything that requires cognitive function. New habits need to be established in order to permanently change my schedule.
  • I grabbed a pair of Reebok Crossfit 2.0 cross training sneakers. I’ve been wearing them during all my workouts and martial arts training. They’ve been great on my feet and very good for my knees.
  • I continue using MyFitnessPal to log my calories. You can’t manage what you don’t measure.

Cars

The terrible roads and potholes caused a sidewall bubble in one of Patty’s tires. Fortunately and unfortunately she only had the tires for six month. On the fortunately side, the tires were new enough that we only had to buy one new tire.

Finances

We had purchased MONEY Master the Game by Anthony Robbins in ebook and I also had a chance to sample the audio from the first chapter. I belive that’s the only chapter that AR reads. I also found a great summary of the key points that was left in an Amazon review. Here’s the key points that I put in my notes.

  1. Understand the power of compound interest and save/invest 10-20% of your income.
  2. You can’t beat the market.
  3. Fees kill your returns. Look at America’s Best 401(k) or Fees to see how your 401(k) fairs.
  4. Hire an independent fiduciary adviser.
  5. Use a Roth IRA or Roth 401(k) and pay taxes now as much as possible, since they are likely to rise in the future.
  6. Forget Target Date or actively managed mutual funds. Use index funds instead.
  7. Know how much you need in order to retire (use the free app to find some rough numbers. Make sure to take inflation into account since the app doesn’t do that)
  8. Come up with a solid asset allocation: a secure bucket (bonds, CDs, cash, etc) and a growth bucket (stocks, real estate, commodities, etc). Re-balance regularly. Take the Rutgers University risk tolerance quiz to find out how much risk you can stomach.

Naturally, I keep my finances close to my vest and don’t share much online. That doesn’t mean I’m not working on this category, though.

House

  • Continued general cleaning and maintenance.
  • Wrote up a project plan for next month’s Spring cleaning.

Whisky Tasting and Mixology

  • Patty and I have never been big drinkers but we’re having fun exploring the world of liquor and wine. We purchased a double walled cocktail shaker and a jigger and I’ve been playing the part of mixologist, whipping up whiskey sours and matadors.
  • I tried a sample bottle of Glenmorangie Lasanta 12. It’s aged in sherry casks. This whisky isn’t very complex, but has a nice mouth burn and is very enjoyable on a cold night.
  • I tasted Glen Garioch 1797 founder’s Reserve. I got sucked in by advertised characteristic. They claim sweet vanilla, butterscotch, fresh green fruits, sweet buttercream, and citrus. It tastes like cough syrup and leather to me. Actually, it tastes like Talisker 10 without the peat. I can only stomach it in very small drams.
  • We visited Julio’s Liquors in Westboro. They have a great selection.

Personal Development

I revisited the Anthony Robbins Time of Your Life/RPM audio program.

Began reading The Winning Mind Set by Jim Brault and Kevin Seaman. Kevin Seaman was gracious enough to sign and inscribe a copy for me. My first impression is that it’s a very nice personal development workbook. Much of its contents are grounded in NLP and cognitive behavioral psychology. Great stuff! I think it will make a great refresher. And since both of the writers are also martial artists, I think I’ll enjoy many of their illustrative examples. I plan to work through each section and see where it takes me.

Movies

Non-Stop *** Better than I expected. Implausible ending.

Magic Moments

We came home to a small (what we believe to be a) screech owl perched on the light by our garage. The owl’s eyes were but slits in the daylight, but he still watched us as we made our way inside. Once we closed the door, he puffed his body out for warmth and went to sleep. As soon as the sun set he took flight to destinations unknown. I take the owl’s visit as a good omen of positive change to come. Here’s a photo of our unlikely visitor.Owl

That’s about it for March. See you in April…hopefully sooner.

2012 Goals Accomplished…Now onto 2013!

“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place and it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t how hard you hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward…That’s how winning is done!”–Rocky Balboa 

Each year I create a list of goals for every area in my life. Throughout the year I work on these goals, track my progress and my challenges. Then, to keep myself honest, I commit to posting a list of some of my top accomplishments and challenges and some of my smaller ones as well.

This was a challenging year. My sister died and her death pretty much shut me down for half the year. The sensation was not unlike getting knocked for a loop in a boxing match and then running on instinct for the rest of the round, doing everything you can to keep your wobbly legs underneath you. Then, with the weather better, we held the memorial and relived it all over again. And never mind the holidays. My sister was born on Thanksgiving and that didn’t make the end of the year any easier

Then, an all around great guy and master martial artist, John Frigon died after a long illness. He seemed so healthy and full of life the last time I saw him, but the illness took him hard and quick.

I had some health issues as well this year. But I made it through with the help of family and friends and trying to keep my mind on my work. I learned a lot this year and think I was able to accomplish quite a bit considering the circumstances.

Professional:

Writing Career (The Pen)

Novels:

Wolves of Vengeance:  I wrote character arc outlines and rewrote each character arc, adding scenes and deleting scenes where necessary.  Patty went through and proofread the manuscript. I would have liked to have WOV completed by year-end, but I’m happy with the progress.

Year of the Demon: I began a reimagining of this novel, a martial arts thriller that I began in 2006 but eventually abandoned. I finally understood what I needed to do to make the story work. I completed the first draft of this novel.

Short Stories:

I submitted 10 short stories to magazine and anthology markets.

I wrote 5 short stories this year.

I sold 3 short stories this year. That’s a personal best!

The Extinct Anthology earned out its advance, and I began receiving royalty checks. A big thank you to everyone who either bought a copy or helped us move up in Amazon’s rankings by grabbing a free copy. Extinct cracked the top 100 free books in contemporary fiction. We’re also sporting a new cover.

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The Epitaphs Anthology became a Bram Stoker Award finalist.

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My short story “The Mesomorphic Woman” was accepted into the Daughter’s of Icarus anthology to be published by Pink Narcissus Press in 2013. I signed the contract and cashed the check. Now, I’m just waiting for a publication date.

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My short story “The Hours of Sleep” was accepted into You Can’t Kill Me, I’m Already Dead: A Vampire Anthology published by Zombie Works Publications. I signed the contract. This anthology is available now as a trade paperback. I’ve been told that an ebook is in the works.

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http://www.amazon.com/You-cant-kill-already-dead/dp/1481170627/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1356967380&sr=8-1&keywords=You+can%27t+kill+me%2C+I%27m+already+dead

My short story “Phantom Chasers” was accepted into the From Beyond the Grave Anthology to be published by Grinning Skull Press. I’m looking forward to publication sometime in 2013.

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Networking

Paid HWA dues.

I attended a New England Horror Writers (NEHW) meeting held at Ritual in Worcester. Fun was had by all!

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An author asked me to blurb her book and I was happy to oblige.

Paying it Forward:

I had a couple of young writers reach out to me looking for advice. I’m still in the beginning of my career, but I tried to give them some advice and point them in the right direction.

Martial Arts (The Sword)

Progress:

Took the opportunity to train in Jung Ki Kwan Hapkido with Master Phil and Master John.

Took the opportunity to train at Britt’s Tae Kwon Do.

Trained with martial arts friends.

Expanded my library of martial arts books and videos.

Added Bas Rutten’s MMA style interval training to my repertoire.

Celebrated 25 years of training in the martial arts.

Earned my next black belt ranking in Tang Soo Do from Master Rhee.

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I was internationally recognized as an advanced Japanese Jujutsu black belt

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Promoted my first black belt student.

Promoted another private student to brown belt.

Tragedy: Sadly Jung Ki Master John Frigon passed away after a long illness. He will be missed.

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Personal:

Family

Tragedy:

My sister Danielle Shoshanna Martino died in January. She will be forever remembered and missed.

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I helped my parents clean out my sister’s apartment along with my Brother and sister-in-law.

Went through a mourning period.

Said kaddish and lit a candle in memory of my sister for 7 days.

Gave charity in memory of my sister.

Increased visits and phone calls to my Mom & Dad during the first half of the year.

Attended my Sister’s memorial in NH and visited with my Dad’s side of the family.

Celebrated Patty’s birthday.

Celebrated my birthday.

Visited and went out to eat with Mom, Dad and Godmother for Mother’s Day.

Attended my nephew’s H.S. Graduation Party.

Attended Father’s Day BBQ at In-laws.

Celebrated my Mother’s birthday at Foxwoods.

Summer BBQ at In-laws.

Visited my nephew Michael’s new apartment and helped move in some furniture.

Thanksgiving with my Family at Foxwoods.

Christmas with in-laws..

Health

Challenges and setbacks:

Between martial arts and other exercise training I reinjured my shoulder, injured my hand, wrist and forearm, strained my back and neck, and twisted my knee. I also lacerated my thumb, and had to get a tetanus shot. I had a cist on the back of my neck that caused some pain but ultimately didn’t have to be removed (my brother had the same thing so it must run in the family). To top it all off I had a small cavity that needed to be filled and I came down with the flu.

My eye doctor put me on a glaucoma preventive eye drop. Glaucoma runs in my family and this should keep me from getting the disease.

Progress

Lost 5 pounds of fat, reduced 3 inches on my waist, and gained muscle.

Bought a pair of prescription sun glasses.

Yearly physical went perfectly except that I needed to lose some weight.

Began using Bas Rutten MMA CD’s for interval training.

Began a P90X program to get myself back in peak condition and heal injuries.

Cars

Progress:

Completed all regular maintenance.

Paid off Patty’s car in the beginning of the year and received title.

Paid off my car at the end of the year and received title.

Challenge: My car was hit at Foxwoods. It took me half the day to deal with the accident and then many hours to get it repaired. In the end my car was fixed and my insurance covered everything.

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House

Had a new AC system installed.

Charity and Community Service.

United Way Lantern Society Member.

Gave to assorted Charities.

Voted in all elections.

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Donated cans to RI food bank through Boy Scouts of America.

Joined The Gun Owner’s Action League (GOAL).

Exercised my Second Amendment rights.

Planning

Began using Opus Domini for daily and weekly planning in conjunction with Anthony Robbins RPM.

Travel/Fun

Portsmouth, NH.

Ossippee, NH

Kittery, ME

Hyannis, MA.

Mohegan Sun, CT: Big Bubbas’s BBQ, Connecticut Sun Basketball Game.

Foxwoods, CT.

East Hartford, CT.

NYC Trip: Traveled by bus. China Town, Little Italy, Times Square.

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Boston: stayed at the Hilton river view room and worked on novel, Cheesecake Factory, PF Changs, Prudential Tower, Harvard Bridge.

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IMAX: Avengers, Promethus, The Dark Knight Rising.

Cinema De Lux Director’s Hall: The Expendables 2.

Rented Solomon Kane On Demand before it came to the theater.

Memorial Day Parade and Fireworks.

Attended Patty’s 25th Anniversary for her company. As usual I made a spectacle of myself with my trademark dancing.

Went to see my friend Jim play drums in his band The Jazz Hawks.

Spiritual

I began praying again at night and saying affirmations in the morning.

Performed kaddish for the dead and lit candles for my sister.

I had a spiritual awakening and returned to my spiritual roots.

Had a series of experiences along with stories of others that proved to me beyond shadow of a doubt that some part of us survives death.

That’s about all I can remember for 2012. It’s been a challenging and productive year. I have some major goals I’d like to complete in 2013. Here’s hoping that next year will be better in every way imaginable.