A New Toy

Scott William Carter   June 6, 2008  

Still working diligently on the latest novel, a middle grade fantasy that could be the best thing I’ve written or the worst, as is always the case when I’m this close to it, as well as plugging away on a new short story, but otherwise life goes on as life does.  My daughter finishes up her last week at preschool next week, and then it’s on to kindergarten.  Sniff.  Got the first part of the advance on my first novel, which was nice.  Most of it went in the bank or to retire some minor debt, but I did take part of it to buy a nice used pop-up tent trailer (pictured there on the right).  We love camping and hiking, especially in the Redwoods, but we wanted a little step up in comfort without breaking the bank.  Should be fun this summer. 

When you realize you’ve made more money on half your advance than you made on the three dozen short stories you sold up to that point, it really does drive home where the bulk of the writing time must go if you have any goal of making a living at writing fiction at some point.  I won’t give up short stories for lots of reasons, but it certainly makes it easier to justify to the family all those hours I spend in my office by myself when I can point to a check with commas in it.  (Well, let’s not get carried away, it only had one comma in it, but one comma is a very nice thing when you’ve been used to worrying about how many cents a word you’re getting paid for your work.)

Good stuff this week:

  • “Crichton believes that we live in an age of conformity much more confining than the 1950s in which he grew up. Instead of showing news consumers how to approach controversy coolly and intelligently, the media partake of the zealotry and intolerance of many of the advocates they cover. He attributes the public’s interest in Mike Huckabee, Ron Paul, and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright to its hunger for a wider range of viewpoints than the mass media provide.”  From “Michael Crichton, Vindicated.”  My own feelings the last year on the mainstream media has gone from indifference to outright disdain, so I couldn’t agree with him more.  What passes for news is now just poor entertainment, and if I want entertainment, I can do a lot better.
  • Advantage Obama.  Seriously, folks, all this talk of Obama losing the election is just nonsense.  An unpopular war, a President with sky-high disapproval ratings, a faltering economy, and a Republican candidate who morphed into Bush III to get the nomination.  Obama will get a 10 point bounce in the polls over the next month (as Clinton pulls out) and — unless he somehow blows it big time — trounce McCain in the electoral college with 300+ votes.   It’s not even going to be close.  If he’s ahead now in the polls, after a contentious primary, McCain is in big, big trouble.  Of course, Democrats could always snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, as they’ve been prone to do, but I think the chances are slim this time. 
  • Oregon Web cams.  A great resource of Web cams all over Oregon.  I don’t know why I get so giddy looking at Web cams of places I’ve been, but I do. 
  • Head over to The First Book blog. Josh Emmons and his book, The Loss of Leon Meed, is profiled over there.  It’s our 20th installment in the series.  A snippet:  “I wrote a few books in my twenties and went through the motions of trying to get them published-querying agents, rubbing talismans-without any luck . . .”