All posts by Rob Darnell

Think I got back ten years of my life

I shoveled my sidewalk and driveway twice this month. Over the years, anytime I shoveled snow or did any kind of physical work, I’d be coughing and gasping for air. Not anymore.

Since I quit smoking in June, I’ve been noticing how much better I feel. I don’t wake up in the morning feeling like I’m suffocating and I can laugh without breaking into terrible coughing fits, and I seem to have more energy.

I have not had a single cigarette since June 3rd, when I smoked my last one and announced on Facebook that I was going to quit. I don’t know how I managed to just quit like that. For twenty-three years, I failed, failed and failed again to quit smoking. All of sudden, I’m a non-smoker. How did that happen?

…and I’m off

20161216_192714Yesterday I announced that I got that novel submitted to a publisher. I don’t know when I’ll hear back from them. Could be weeks, could be months.

Before starting Book Two of the series, I remembered the new illuminated keyboard I bought a couple weeks ago and decided to hook it up. I have another one of these that I was using until a year or two ago when some of the keys stopped functioning properly. But this new one feels like it’s better made and the letters are bigger. It also has seven different light colors, but I like the white light best.

This means I can write in the dark again. It also means I don’t have to strain to see the keys anymore, which I often had to do even when the lights were on. I was never one of those people who can write without looking at the keyboard.

So, yesterday, I got 312 words into Book Two. That’s not a bad start.

Novel Sent Out

Yesterday was a long day. I spent the entire day putting together a submission package for one of the big publishers. I didn’t think it’d take me till one in the morning to finally submit the thing.

Writing a cover letter and synopsis, and all that stuff, is like pulling teeth. It’s not fun at all. The fun part is writing actual fiction. The rest is just agony.

I got up from my desk only a few times yesterday.

Think I’m going to start Book Two today.

I guess my motto is “Let’s see what happens”. I’ll do the best I can with each project, send it out and see what happens.

Echoes of a Dream, by Melissa J. Lytton

51jpxlklm3lWhile reading Melissa J. Lytton‘s Echoes of a Dream, I kept thinking that the prose rolls like it does in Walter Mosley’s Devil in a Blue Dress. They’re completely different stories; Mosley’s is a noir set in 1948 Los Angeles and Lytton’s is a science fiction set in the future. But I feel the writing is similiar in that it just takes you in. I don’t think “grabbed me and held me” is the right way to describe it. It’s more like you’re comfortably settled into the story and it’s a smooth ride.

Eric Hudd is a drug addict, though he has been clean for some time now. He has a job and his own place, and it seems his life is on a better path. But something is wrong. When Hudd accidentally kills a man, he’s not sure it really happened or not. Soon he finds out that the factory near the building he lives in has something going on that tampers with people’s dreams and realities. Hudd decides it needs to stop.

Lytton did an outstanding job creating this novel. Her character development and world building skills are excellent, and she has a keen sense of story.

9-4

So, yeah, the Lions beat the Bears on Sunday. It might have gone the other way if the Bears hadn’t had a few penalties thrown at them in the end and gotten backed up to, I think it was 25 yards. Far enough from the goal post to prevent them from kicking a field goal and tying the score.

So, the Lions won, 20-17, and their first place standing is looking more secure. I’d feel better if the Vikings and the Packers had lost their games, but they didn’t. So, the Vikings and Packers are still two behind the Lions and there are three games left for the regular season.

The Lions play the Giants on the 18th. If they can beat the Giants, that’d be great.

I knew that Python would find its way back to Rick

In last night’s episode of The Walking Dead, Rick and Aaron cross a zombie infested river and reach the boat on the far bank. There they find loads of shit. Food, guns and other supplies.

Meanwhile, Daryl makes his great escape. While reclaiming the motorcycle that is rightfully his, he is confronted by one of Negan’s men. Though the guy acts all nice, Daryl is having none of it. Daryl beats the asshole to death with a rod and discovers the asshole was carrying Rick’s Colt Python.

Rick and Aaron make it back to town to find Negan’s crew waiting for them. Of course, all the stuff they had just collected is claimed by Negan. In the town center, Negan kills two more people and takes Eugene away.

This is when Rick decides he’s had enough of Negan. In the end, Rick and other members of his group arrive at Hilltop and Rick tells Maggie that she was right, they need to fight Negan. Then Daryl shows up and hands Rick his Python like it’s a warrior’s great sword.

That completes the first half of this season. The second half will start in February. What will happen then? I expect the whole second half will be war.

Who will die?

Generation War

imageshol0lpq5Recently, I watched Generation War again. It’s German-made series about World War II. There are three episodes, each one lasts an hour and thirty minutes.

I think it’s a good picture, but there are a couple things that I don’t feel are accurate, most notably are the partisans in Poland being anti-Semitic. That put me off. I looked into it and found out that, yep, the Polish partisans were most definitely not anti-Semitic. They are credited for rescuing many Jews from the Holocaust.

But otherwise, I really enjoyed this series. First time I watched it was about a year ago. I watched it again a month ago.

Generation War is about five friends from Berlin. Two are brothers and they’re in the German army. One is a nurse, one becomes a singer. One is a Jewish man who attempts to flee Germany, but finds himself swept up in the Holocaust.

So, each of the five have their own story. They thought the war would be over by Christmas and they would all reunite at their bar in Berlin. But the war dragged on much longer.

Novel Wrapped Up

Yesterday I finished going over that one novel again. I finished writing the thing a couple years ago. Some months back, I started reading it, because I needed to make notes for the second book of the series.

While reading it, I ended up making changes and corrections. So, it became a long process. I had already gone over this novel several times before, but there were still some mistakes that I missed the last time I went over it. Also, there were scenes that I decided to change to make them fit better. I think the story has a better ring to it now.

The whole thing is 91,278 words and 431 pages.

Today I’m stressing over which publishing company to send it to first. Most of the big publishers will only accept agented submissions, but I can think of couple that are open to unagented submissions and I’m leaning toward one of them. I’m also considering some small press publishers.

I’ve shopped this novel around to agents, but haven’t landed one yet. So, I decided to change my game plan a little and see if I can land a publisher, and then maybe I’ll be able to win over an agent.

We’ll see what happens.

Heritage Manufacturing Rough Rider

20161207_093705Yeah, I got one of those too. My Heritage Manufacturing Rough Rider came with two cylinders, one for .22lr and the other for .22 Magnum. Though, I confess, I haven’t used the .22 Magnum cylinder yet and have only run .22lr through the pistol.

My Rough Rider is my primary target pistol. I bought it because I wanted to learn to shoot like Wyatt Earp and Billy the Kid. I might get another one eventually, so I can do two pistol shootings. I think that would give me equal practice with both hands and it would be fun.

Heritage Manufacturing has several different versions of the Rough Rider. They come in different calibers, colors and grips. You can also buy different grips, to replace the ones you have, if you want something more fancy. I have an eye on a couple different grips. I also like the holsters they have. It’s all available on the Heritage Manufacturing  website.

My Rough Rider does everything I expect it to do. It must shoot straight, because I can hit the target with it.

In case you didn’t know, the Lions are in first place

Yep, that’s right. The Detroit Lions are the top NFC North Team. Their position on the list looks secure enough for the time being. The Lions are 8-4. The Vikings and the Packers are below the Lions and tied with 6-6.

The Bears are hanging there at the bottom with a 3-9. So, I’m not too worried about them. But if they beat the Lions this coming Sunday, that would royally suck.

So, what this means is, if the Lions can hold their place through the last four games of the regular season, they’ll be in the playoffs for sure. The Packers or the Vikings would have to win two and the Lions would have to lose two for the Lions’ first place standing to be lost.

Hey, the Cubs made it to the World Series this year and won it. Can the Lions make it to the Super Bowl and win it? Please.