All posts by Rob Darnell

Revving the Engine

I got a list of ideas for short stories that I’m going to start working my way down tomorrow. I’m pretty excited about the first story on the list. I’d start today, but I like to do other things on Saturdays and Sundays. I’ll probably see about getting over to my mom and dad’s house in a little while, or I might start burning the yard waste in the backyard if it’s not too windy.

Yesterday

The White Sox beat the hell out of the Tigers yesterday and then the Red Wings got their asses kicked. But it was a good day. Spent the day at Mom and Dad’s. My brother brought over his girlfriend and we spent a lot of time up in the bar singing karaoke. For the first time, I actually worked up the nerve to sing karaoke. I sang Bon Jovi’s Blaze of Glory and Breaking Benjamin’s Blow Me Away. Well, sort of. I know both songs very well, but a lot of lines slipped my mind while trying to sing yesterday. I probably sounded like I had a dried up frog in my mouth too. But it was fun.

Agents Queried

I spent the week querying agents for Novel #1, which I finished last year. There’s a list of agents and agencies on querytracker.net and I covered the entire list. There are over a thousand agents on this list, but only 81 of them were right for me and this novel. If just one of these agents offers to represent me, that would be great, but it’s very likely that none of them will. If that’s the case, I’ll try to win them over with the next book,

I’m going to relax for the rest of week and let my brain grow back. I’ll start writing short stories next week.

Disturbance

Normally I don’t complain when Jehovah’s Witnesses turn up at my door, but this morning I really wasn’t in the mood to be disturbed. When Luci started barking, my first response was to tell her to be quiet. But when she wouldn’t stop, I got up to see what the deal was. “Oh, God,” I said when I saw the white SUV and two women dressed generations out-of-date. Of course I opened the door and said “Thanks.” when I was handed the little brochure, but as soon as I closed the door I tore that brochure up and dropped it in the garbage.

Thank you very much for breaking my concentration, ladies. And no, I’m not going to join your Kingdom Hall.

But they are not the reason I didn’t get 2,000 words today.

The Borrowers, by Mary Norton

untitledI was introduced to the Borrowers some years ago when I saw the movie, the one where John Goodman plays the villain. I liked the movie and thought I should give the book a read, though it took me a while to get around to it. As is usually the case, the book is not quite like the movie.

The Borrowers, by Mary Norton, is a fun children’s book about tiny people living  under the kitchen floor of a great big house.. It’s never specified when the story is taking place, but I think it’s set around the early 1900s, in England.

Only one family of Borrowers is left in the big house owned by Aunt Sophy. The rest of the Borrower families have moved out for one reason or another and have not been heard from since. Though Arrietty, her mother Homily and her father Pod convince themselves that there are many more Borrowers in the world, they might well be the last of the Borrowers. Arrietty meets Sophy’s nephew, the Boy, and the Boy offers to help her find other Borrowers, if they can be found. Among other things.

Branch, by Gustavo Bondoni

branch1Branch, by Gustavo Bondoni, is a novella about the discovery of a new human species. They look and behave like the rest of us, but they’re not quite like us. The biggest difference is that our species and theirs cannot breed.

So, there is a team of scientists working in India, at the village where this new species lives. Most of the scientists are good, decent and sensible people, but one of them is a royal pain in the ass.

When India’s soldiers move to the village to assure the safety and secrecy of the villagers, everything is peachy until the doctor with the bad attitude decides to spread the word about the villagers being different from the rest of the human race. The news spreads around the world and soon there are thousands of bigots who think the world would be better off if this new branch of the human race is eliminated, in the name of God, of course.

A fun read. Some bits stirred my emotions.  Bondoni did it right.

Jim Harbaugh in the Big House

We got him. It’s been official for a few days now. Jim Harbaugh has signed the contract and is the head coach of Michigan’s football team. This makes me happy. I couldn’t watch the Wolverines’ last season. I watched maybe five games and then I just totally gave up on them for the season. That’s saying a lot, because I really, really love the Michigan Wolverines. But this last season was such a disaster that I couldn’t watch. I just couldn’t.

Brady Hoke really fucked up. The guy made some horrible coaching decisions, even violated some rules. It was time for him to be gone. Jim Harbaugh has a great coaching record and a Super Bowl under his belt. Though he did not win the Super Bowl that year, he got his team there and that’s a big thing. It’s also known that Harbaugh did very well coaching college football before going to the NFL. I read somewhere that he feels his way of coaching is better suited for college kids. That’s one of the reasons why he decided to leave the NFL and return to the NCAA and his old school.

The 2015 college football season is a ways off, but I’m looking forward to it. I have faith that Harbaugh will turn things around.

Welcome back to Michigan, Jim.

 

2015 Is Here

We’re here. This is the year Marty McFly went to in Back to the Future Part II. We still don’t have flying automobiles, hoverboards, automatic dog walkers, “Power laces, all right!” shoes, or those really cool Pepsi cans. But we do have a lot of neat stuff, so science fiction is happening in some ways.

Looking back on 2014…. Well, to be honest, I don’t really want to look back. I want to look forward. Now that we’re here, I want to look at 2015. I want things to happen in 2015, things that I can look forward to. Sure, I’ll still reflect on things from the past, whether good or bad, but right now I’m not in the mood.

But I will say this about 2014, it was a decent year, with the usual ups and downs, some of it heartbreaking and some of it not bad at all. I did manage to make another short story sale. It’s been quite a while since I last made a sale and it’s good to be back in the game. I also finished that novel I had been working on for too long and I’m already 20,000 words and 98 pages into my next novel. So, I would say 2014 was a year I accomplished a few things.

I plan to step up my game in 2015. I want this to be a more productive year than last year was. I also hope to make a few more short story sales and land an agent for my novels. I want this to be a good year.

2015, we made it.

June 1942: A Boy Out Of Time, A Girl Out Of History, by Quito Washington

51LfdolVS5L__BO2204203200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-bigTopRight0-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4BottomRight122_AA300_SH20_OU01_1Not bad. Pretty damn good, actually. I usually don’t bother with self published books, but June 1942: A Boy Out Of Time, A Girl Out Of History, by Quito Washington, is one I’m glad I read. I’ll be honest, I think it could use a bit more editing. I spotted a lot of typos and there were places where commas should have been but weren’t. I also saw some point of view violations. But if you’re not anal about that stuff, this is a very enjoyable book.

I would say it’s science fiction with a mild blend of fantasy. Though there were times when I thought it was a ghost story, then I’d think it was contemporary fiction, but with some of the story set in the past. But in the end it came clear what this actually is and it was well played. The plot was strong, the story was convincing, the characters were believable.

Not bad.

Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare

untitledI’ve been behind on my reading. Finally got back into the motion and finished off William Shakespeare‘s Romeo and Juliet.

I pretty much already knew the story of Romeo and Juliet, though I never actually read the book. I’ve heard about the story and I’ve seen parts of the Romeo + Juliet movie from 1996, though I don’t think I ever watched it all the way through. So, I knew what the story was about, but I didn’t have the whole story down and I figure I ought to know it.

Shakespeare’s usual poetic play of words is in this book just as it is in every other book of his. Yeah, he was a crafty writer. I kept imagining that I was watching the play as I read. I would see the actors waving their arms about as they spoke their lines. Some bits made me laugh out loud and other bits struck an emotional chord. So, I say Shakespeare did it right.