Returning to the Blogosphere…sort of

[Posted originally at Dreamwidth, my personal blog. Reposting it here (with slight editing) as an update.]

Keeping busy….

Yes, folks! I’m still here among the living. I’ve been spending all this time focusing on finishing off In My Blue World (which I’m FINALLY going to drop in March! Wooohoo!) and preparing myself for the revision work for Diwa & Kaffi (yes, I’ve decided that’s going to be the title until further notice). I’ve also been enjoying the extended semi-hiatus from the internets, focusing more on offline projects and personal things. It’s been long delayed and much needed.

I’ve been tempted more than a few times to return to the blogging schedule that I’ve held over the last couple of years, but I’m holding off. As much as I truly enjoyed it, it would often drain me. I ended up repeating myself on more than a few occasions, often without realizing. Some days I’d have all kinds of things to talk about, but other days (especially near the end there) I was really straining to come up with semi-original content. 

But I also wanted to move on. I’ve been blogging about writing and music for years now, some years more consistently than others, and after a great personal banner year of music collecting and novel writing, I felt it was time for me to shift my focus. It’s like when I talk about the YC years: I absolutely loved the schedule that afforded me the time to relax and improve my writing, but that could only last for so long. I may be a creature of habit and want to stick with that sort of thing for years at a time, I’m also a creature of wanting to shake things up. I also love the idea of starting a completely new lifestyle, whatever it may be. I get to a point where I realize I’ve gone as far as I can with what I’m doing, and I need to move on. There’s varying reasons for that — I’ve exhausted my interest, I’ve moved on, my tastes have changed/shifted, and so on. Sometimes it’s a deeply personal thing, sometimes it’s just an ephemeral thing.

(Speaking of which, I could go on about how hard it is to shift to that new lifestyle while attempting to shed old habits, ideas and so on, but I’ll save that for another entry.)

I’m still a music-collecting geek and a writer, and I highly doubt those two things will be changing any time soon. But what I’ve realized over the past month and a half is that I still have a long way to go if I want to make the changes I do want to make. Sliding back into old habits and schedules will not help me, as again — I can be quite the creature of habit.  I’m going out of my way NOT to return to things like that, as it’s the only way I’ll be able to get to where I DO need to be.

That said, I’m making a brief re-entry into the blogosphere with Welcome to Bridgetown, as I have some books coming out this year as well as a few appearances at local conventions. These new entries will most likely be unscheduled but I’ll make them timely. Otherwise this blog will remain on semi-hiatus until I decide what I will do with it.
In the meantime, I’ll be making more steady (and more personal) appearances at my Dreamwidth account. Thanks again for hanging around for so long!

Fly-by Updatery

Keeping all sorts of busy on my hiatus here. The Day Job has its ups and downs (I won’t bore you with the details on that), I’m on the hopefully final revision go-round for In My Blue World, I’ve been doing some cursory reading of the Apartment Complex story in preparation for its revision, and on top of that, I’ve been doing a bit of self-reflection. Oh! And I finally bought a second electric guitar; a Gretsch Electromatic for those playing along. What that particular toy, I’ve been recording some lo-fi Drunken Owl demo ideas using my phone. So yeah, I’ve been busy, but not overly so.

As much as I miss blogging, I’m kind of glad I’ve taken this time off, especially now that I’ve got some important projects I’m working on.

So what’s coming up? Good question. I’ll be at FOGcon from March 8 – 10 over in Walnut Creek. I’m looking to be on a few panels and maybe even a reading (I’ll be reading either something from In My Blue World or the AC story). If you’re going, stop by and say hi!

I’ll also be at BayCon from May 24 – 27 down in San Mateo. No plans for readings/panels for that yet, but I’m hoping to make that a thing.

Other than that…? I’m floating around on Twitter every now and again, but I’ve been kind of quiet online otherwise. I’ve been sticking with the music streaming, sticking with personal conversations with friends, and essentially keeping a low profile. And that’s how I’d like it at the moment.

Again, not sure when this hiatus will end, but I’m hoping it’ll be sometime later this year!

I’m not the type to run in circles

O HAI THERE

Oh hey!  Long time no post.  My self-imposed blogging hiatus is over for now.  I’ve managed to get caught up with Day Job stuff, I’ve cleared my mind of a few things, and I’ve relieved a lot of stress that had been building up.  Glad to be back in the fold again!

I’ve been thinking a lot about what’s coming up for 2019.  I have two books on the schedule:  In My Blue World should be dropping (hopefully) by February or so, and the Apartment Complex (still no title yet??) by the summer.  After that…?  Good question.  I actually have no novel plans on the back burner.  Even Mendaihu Universe Book 4 has been put aside for the moment (primarily because I don’t have much of a focus on it at all).  I’ve had a good run since 2015 when I dropped A Division of Souls on y’all.  Two further books in the Bridgetown Trilogy, and three more in quick succession over the last few years.  Six books completed and readied for release in four years.  That’s not bad at all.

But what about 2019?  I have no novels, no projects on the boards.  No ideas that are currently grabbing my attention.  It’s the weirdest feeling, actually.  It’s definitely not the same as the dry years of 2006-2009, frustrated the need to write and held back by lack of words and ideas.  No, this time it’s different.  It definitely feels like a well-earned vacation.

Which means that 2019 will be focusing on the personal.  Things that I’ve delayed for far too long.  Sure, I’ll still write.  I’ll still blog.  But I think I’m going to take a break from keeping it set at 10 all the time.  My old habits and processes work just fine for me, but a lot of them I just don’t need anymore.

Read new books.  Learn new creative abilities.  Get rid of old habits.  See the world in different ways.  Become a part of something new.  Look forward.  Change.

No idea how it will all turn out, but I think it’s about damn time.

One More Shameless Plug and an Offer!

Meet the Lidwells Cover F Outside 2.jpg

HEY THERE! One more shameless plug here at Welcome to Bridgetown to let you know that my new book is still on sale for ONLY A BUCK FIFTY at Smashwords!  It’s available in all formats including Nook and Kindle.  Today’s the last day of the sale, though, then it’s going back up to the insane price of $2.99.  Go get it before it’s too late!

You can download it crazy quick by following this link right here.

WAIT A MOMENT!  AN OFFER, YOU SAY?

Yes! I know some of you readers out there are also bloggers (and some of you are even GoodReads members), so I’ll lay it out: interested in a fun, quick read about the shenanigans of a bunch of teenage rockers in the 90s?  Love reading music bios that reveal all the sordid secrets behind the fame?  Interested in doing a review either on your site or at GoodReads?

Let me know by commenting here or emailing me directly at joncwriter (at) yahoo dot com (with the subject line ‘Andersonville’) and I can hook you up with A FREE COPY OF THE E-BOOK, whichever format you need!  All I ask in return is that you provide a review, either at GoodReads or on your blog.  Doesn’t need to be anything long-winded — even just a starred rating will do!

Thanks for reading!

Rough Draft: Untitled New Project

For your enjoyment…something I wrote Thursday afternoon for my daily 750 Words.  It’s a rough draft of an idea I’ve had for the past month or so.  The setting is an apartment complex in a suburb of a sprawling mega-city, where its tenants are of all kinds: humans, aliens, monsters, mythical beasts.  It’s a Studio Ghibli-inspired story about a young kid living at this complex (whose family owns and runs it) and his adventures meeting all kinds of beings, getting to know their lives, eccentricities, and maybe even starting a few friendships in the process.

This is most likely going to be my next project after Meet the Lidwells, and I’m looking forward to writing and self-pubbing it.

I’ve put the passage under this here cut.  Hope you enjoy it.

 

 

Continue reading “Rough Draft: Untitled New Project”

It Was Twenty Years Ago Today…

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The original first page of ‘The Phoenix Effect’, (c) 1997 Jon Chaisson.

…that I sat down in the food court at Solomon Pond Mall and wrote the first pages of The Phoenix Effect.  The timestamp (something I do when writing longhand) shows 10:30, which I recall was later that evening — the original first pages were full of scratch-outs and mistakes, but the prose is the same.  This was the start of a new project that would take me through multiple Day Jobs, multiple years, and multiple apartments.

You might notice a few things here:

–Nehalé Usarai was named Halley Brown here, a holdover from True Faith.  [The name itself was inspired by the play between rocker Bill Haley and Halley’s Comet.  I morphed the name to its present form when I started on the revision that became A Division of Souls.]

–This version starts just like ADoS does, with Nehalé/Halley on the side of the Mirades Tower.  The Tower hadn’t been given a name yet…it was just known as ‘The Tower’ for now.  The original version also had him at the 92nd floor, which was kept almost up until the last minute, when I felt he needed to be even higher up and changed it sometime in 2015 to the 142nd floor.  There are a few failed attempts that were written not that long before this, but they never got past a few pages as I was unhappy with them.  One failed version opens not with Nehalé but two alien characters (who would morph into Ashyntoya and Akaina Shalei a short time later) witnessing explosions at a nullport terminal.

–“High up.”  That was the opening sentence for years until I chose to cut it sometime in 2012 or so, replacing it instead with Nehalé using innerspeak to say ‘dehndarra Né hra nyhndah.’

–I originally had Nehalé armed, but I decided soon after that I didn’t want guns to be a part of this story…not when they had psionic powers they could use instead.  (I also have very limited knowledge of automatic weapons, something I never had an interest in.)  The name of his pistol (Shrieve) was named after Michael Shrieve, a drummer that was briefly in a group with Sammy Hagar called HSAS.  That gun name originally popped up in True Faith.

–The geography of the Bridgetown Sprawl in The Phoenix Effect is exactly the same as what we see in the three finished books, complete with the names.  [Although I changed ‘The Docks’ to ‘the Waterfront Sector’ soon after.]  Pullock Street Heights was inspired by Sandra Bullock, with the name slightly changed.  I-90 was named after I-90 in Massachusetts, aka The Mass Pike, which was just down the road from the mall.

–It’s not on this page, but Halley will mention the name ‘Mihari’ a page or so later.  This was the original name for the Mendaihu, and taken from the Japanese word for ‘guard’.  The Shenaihu’s original name was ‘Misuteru’, which is Japanese for ‘abandon’.  These were in use for years until I chose to use names of my own making instead, maybe around 2013 or so.  ‘Mihari’ was the original name in this universe back in the winter 1993 attempts, and was of course inspired by all the anime I’d started watching about that time.

–A much darker, more cynical approach to the prose.  I’ll admit, I was going for the William Gibson cyberpunk feel.   I phased that out early on, realizing that mimicking someone else’s style rarely ever works out well for me.  And instead of Nehalé’s intense Awakening Ritual, he’d started a chain reaction of explosions around the city (climactic scene of V for Vendetta, anyone?), which basically did the same thing as the present version only with a hell of a lot more violence and destruction.

–Ah yes…the chapter titles.  I’d given each chapter the title of a song (oh so creative and typical of me…eesh) that tied in with the plot of the chapter.  ‘Ring of Fire’ refers to the Johnny Cash song as well as the ring of explosions that causes the mass Awakening.  I dropped those when I was working on ADoS in 2000.  The NEW chapter names are a relatively recent addition, added when I was finalizing the initial post-production for the e-book.

*

It’s kind of fun looking at this early version, which is still in its original spiral bound notebook.  After a year or so of not really getting anywhere with True Faith or any of my other writing, it felt absolutely great to dive into something that I felt strongly about, something that I knew I could expand into something big.  It was when I got serious with my writing habits.  When I’d decided that my Day Jobs would be my paychecks, but my writing would be my lifelong career.  When I knew I was going to be in it for the long haul.

And in a superb bit of serendipity, I’ll be reading the first chapter of A Division of Souls tomorrow at FOGCon.  Exactly twenty years and one day after I’d written the above first page.

Suffice it to say, it’s been a hell of an interesting ride from then to now, but it was worth it every step of the way.

Yo, have a nice day

See, this is my problem sometimes.  Maybe it’s an empathy gene that I’m unable to turn off.  Maybe it’s my Catholic upbringing where I automatically feel guilty for whatever is going on in the world, even if I had nothing to do with it.  Maybe it’s that I haven’t done enough to train myself to be proactive instead of reactive.  Empathy’s good, sure.  I’m glad I have the ability to utilize it.  But I’m really sick of getting caught in that Everything Is Horrible Nothing Is Fine reaction.  It’s not debilitating to me as I can manage how much media I take in, but it is distracting.

I say this here at WtBt, because this reactive part of me is not conducive to my creativity.  On the contrary, it usually stops it cold.  And I fucking hate that.  This is why this post is so late today.  I just could not find anything worth writing about last night, and I had to beg off so I could get my editing done.

So.  What to do about that.

I’m not going to be a blissed-out hippie or an e-head raver and avoid the world.  It’s kind of too late and I’m too old for that.  But what I can do is be healthier on the emotional/spiritual end of things.  [By now, you know by ‘spiritual’ I mean mind-and-body stuff and not religion.  Not dissing it, just that I’m not looking for that right now.]  Give myself a more positive outlook on life.  Be more proactive on how I process things in the Big Bad World rather than just being reactive about it.

And in the process, that just might open up more creative avenues for me.