Tag Archives: Five Minutes

Scene preview: Would you have kept the baby?

Every Wednesday, I offer a free preview of a current project. The excerpt below is taken from Music of the Spheres.

Joan had never been troubled on her country strolls before today. She preferred walking to class because the time alone allowed her to think, though her friends thought it was dangerous. Though the trip would have taken five minutes by car, it was the solitude she liked, getting lost in her thoughts. Wind flowed over the grass like invisible surf, ghostly hands caressing the land, tugging gently at her hair. A humble road cut through the plains, lightly graveled. Joan liked the way the pebbles crunched beneath her feet, keeping rhythm as she trudged along.

She was both startled and disturbed to see a vagrant loitering ahead. He was a large man, unshaven, in what appeared to be the tattered remnants of some uniform. It was so dirty and faded that she couldn’t make out any patches or insignia. Against the pristine landscape, he was as out of place as a weapons rack in a library. And this was her special place. Seeing another person here almost felt like an invasion of privacy. Read More →

The other-other hobby: Confessions of a jack of all trades, master of none.

Black Fender Telecaster with maple fretboardAwhile back I bought a Fender Squire used from craig’s list, with a 10-watt crate amp in the deal.

It sounds like shit.

Lesson learned: You get what you pay for. Squiers are cheap knock-offs for a reason.

I put that Squier on its stand and never played it after the first few days. Every now and then, I’d take it back out, tune it, and put it back within five minutes.

Later my father-in-law bought an off-brand guitar with a beautiful full sound to it and smooth fretboard. Color me jealous.

After playing his guitar, I thought to myself, “Man…if my guitar sounded like that, and played that smoothly, I’d probably practice all the time.” But I didn’t have the kind of money he’d spent, even though it still wasn’t even a top of the line guitar.

Thus when a co-worker announced his Fender Telecaster was for sale, I sighed to myself and thought, “Yeah, if only.”

But after a couple of days, I thought, “Why the hell not?”

I spoke to the wife about borrowing money from savings against some of my future allowance, to which she agreed. My co-worker brought the Telecaster to work with an amp one Friday for me to try it out.

Two pickups, maple fretboard, and a clean, precise, sharp sound even further enhanced by installed vintage Telecaster pickups.

Plus it was shiny. Oh so shiny.

I took it home that day.

I was right; where I can’t stand to play the Squier for more than a couple minutes before I get disgusted, I can hardly put the Telecaster down.

 Just over the weekend, I’ve already added multiple songs to repertoire, including Extreme’s ballad “More Than Words”, and “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen, popularly covered by Jeff Buckley, Rufus Wainwright, and others.

I’m slowly working on Cliffs of Dover (Eric Johnson), but that’s going to be a long time coming. I’ve just started practicing my pentatonic and blues scales so that I can perform riffs better, since those have always been my weak point.

Best of all, I’m starting to write music again.

It worked…

addictedRather than quitting World of Warcraft cold turkey (which I have done before, but it didn’t stick in the long run), I have instead tried the the route of discipline:

Simply playing less.

It worked. When I feel the urge to game, I will attempt to scratch the itch by playing much more cyclical one-player games instead. I don’t know how others feel, but for me single player games don’t cut it anymore; I just get bored with seeing the same content over and over. Cheats, mods, savefile editors and such can add a certain additional replay value, but those grow stale even more quickly than the original game.

So then I pace the apartment. I check chess.com compulsively every five minutes. I watch *gasp* television. (Streaming with no commercials, still, though.)

And then eventually…I get bored enough to write.

Success!

I wrote for some 7 or 8 hours Saturday and another 4 on Sunday. Furthermore, I managed a personal first: Diving directly into another story while the ink from my last project is still drying.

I considered putting up another poll to ask what you want to read next, having now (re)finished Perfect Justice. But then I’d want to give the poll time to gather enough info — the last one took about ten days before all votes were in, and even then I only garnered nine votes in total.

Instead, I decided merely to write the next story.

For those who are keeping up with me, I’ll go ahead and tell you the next one is going to be Second Chances; you can read the synopsis over on the sidebar.

I will also introduce you to a new project on my idea board:

Road Rage is about a guy so frustrated and angered by the idiotic and dangerous ways of rude drivers that he finally decides to do something about it. But he isn’t content with merely taking your license. Violate his rules, and he’ll be taking your life.