Tag: housekeeping

Moving my blog – please update your links!

If you’ve been following my blog for awhile, you may have noticed that I like to change my website theme. A lot. One of the things that entails is making sure my blog matches my website. And that was just getting too difficult with Blogger. I’m a decent enough coder, but I was way over my head.

So I’ve moved my blog to WordPress. All the posts are still readable, and any links to http://blog.edmartinwriter.com should automatically move to http://www.edmartinwriter.com/blog.

So please, update your links and continue to follow my blog! I really appreciate all the support and feedback I’ve gotten over the past couple years!

The next stage

When I graduated from college with a BS in Psych and a BA in French, I joined Teach for America, a national teaching program that places recent college grads in low-income, high-risk schools in order to raise student achievement. I spent two years teaching high school English and remedial reading, but burned out due to a less-than-stellar administration, and went on to other things.

The beauty of Teach for America isn’t that it gets people into the classroom; it’s that it gets them hooked on fixing education inequality no matter what career path they take. My fellow teachers in the program have gone on to be policy analysts, principals, and lawyers all fighting to ensure that one day, all children will have the opportunity to receive an excellent education.

And I’m no different. Today is the first day of grad school for me; I’ve enrolled in a three-year, part-time MSW program designed for working professionals with day jobs and families and obligations, the goal being to get my school social work endorsement so I can continue to help at-risk students.

So I’d like to apologize in advance if posts slow down. I try to have 3 posts/week, but between classes, work and trying to get a better job, family, writing, reading, those trips to the gym I’m paying for but that never seem to happen, I’m not sure if I can keep it up.

Writing is important to me, as is connecting with readers and other writers, so I’m going to make a big effort to stop procrastinating and actually write whenever I have the chance – before work, on breaks, evenings when the kid isn’t around. Preferably while still getting at least 5 hours of sleep at night.

When your life is hectic, how do you find balance between work and school and family and hobbies?

Where I’m going, and where I should be

2012 is about 3/4 over, so I’m taking another look at the writing goals I set for myself back in January.

  1. Get an agent (which means stop picking at my novel and just send it out already).
  2. Finish my already-started novel, A Handful of Wishes.
  3. Have at least fifteen stories out on submission at any given time – currently I’m at nine.
  4. Get in shape, and then stay in shape.
  5. Learn how to neatly and nicely-looking lattice a pie.
  6. Date a rockstar (doesn’t matter who).

I evaluated them in April and June, and I wasn’t doing the best.  Now is no different.

  1. I’ve sent out about three dozen queries, with no response other than form rejections.  Tomorrow I’m attending a writing workshop focusing on the publishing process, so maybe I’ll get some insights there (which of course I’ll share on my blog next week).
  2. I set up my NaNo page today (my username is emartin317, if you’d like to be my buddy).  My goal is to finish A Handful of Wishes this year.  I have the story outlined, so as long as I have the time to work on it, I should be good.
  3. I’m currently at six submissions, but I have several stories to send back out.  I should probably do that soon.
  4. I joined a gym last month.  And I’m actually going 4-5 times a week.  I should theoretically be in shape soon.
  5. All my baking stuff is in boxes in my brother’s attic.  Pies will not be made this year.
  6. I wrote a story about a small-time rockstar.  Close enough.

If you’re a writer, what are your goals for the rest of the year?  If you set goals for yourself at the beginning of the year, how are you doing with them?

I’m back

A few weeks ago, I announced I’d be taking a break from blogging and writing for awhile, as I tried to settle my life.

Although I’m still unemployed, I’ve pretty much settled into new digs – staying with my dad for awhile.  My son just started kindergarten, my dad’s off at work during the day, and his girlfriend has moved into her own place, leaving me hours of uninterrupted time to focus on writer stuff.

Also, I’m happy to announce that my flash story “The Business Trip” has been published by the fledgling Free Flash Fiction, and response to it has been good (okay, any response to a story I write is good, but this one seems to be striking an empathetic nerve in a lot of people).

So in celebration of being back, and having a story accepted, this weekend I’ll be offering another short story, “Tim and Sara,” for free on Kindle.

The victim of debilitating flashbacks, Tim is content to spend the rest of his life at Kirkbride, a state mental hospital. But his friend and fellow resident Sara is concerned that she has to save her soul before it’s too late, and so she devises a plan to break them out of the hospital. Can Tim help his friend while holding onto what’s left of his sanity?

It’ll be free Saturday, August 18th, through Monday, August 20th.  Get it, read it, review it, and tell your friends!

Blogging hiatus

For the last year or so, I’ve tried to post something here about 2-3 times per week.  And now I’ve gone a week and a half with nothing.  I feel I owe my loyal readers an explanation.

For the past year I taught school through a nonprofit that contracted into the local school district.  While I technically have to work summers, I have a lot of leeway with how I spend my time.  My plans for this summer included buying a fixer-upper house, and with that in mind, I put in notice that I wouldn’t be renewing my apartment lease.

And then the Powers That Be intervened.  I was unexpectedly fired several days after the school year ended (for political BS reasons; several other people were also fired and others quit due to working conditions, leaving the organization with a 50% turnover rate).  So, no house until I find a job.

And, as of the end of the month, no place to live.

For the past couple weeks I’ve been busy packing (and procrastinating about packing).  My plan is to put most of my stuff in storage, then stay either at my dad’s or friends’ houses, with a good chunk of time writing and reading in libraries and places with free internet and unlimited refills.

I also think it would be fun to live in a tent for awhile, or out of my car, but my cat is vehemently against that.

So, until I get settled somewhere, or at least get all my stuff relocated, posts will be light.

Thanks for your understanding!

The "Tag, You’re Small" blog award

YA Writer Ruth Lauren Steven has given me the Liebster Award.  I’m not sure who started it (maybe someone German, based on the name??), but basically it’s a way to acknowledge blogs you like that have a following of less than 200 or so.  According to the word-of-mouth rules, you’re supposed to pass it on to five small blogs you like, then list five things about yourself.

The rest of the small blogs I follow are of friends’ kids, so I’ll just leave this at three because my friends probably wouldn’t appreciate the writing world being all up in their children’s business.

But on the plus side, per Ruth’s example, I only have to tell three things about myself:

  • I love to travel, especially on pointless roadtrips.  I just spent a week driving around the country, singing along poorly and loudly to the stereo, looking for my muse (who remains an unresponsive jerkface).  I hit twelve states, caught up with some friends, spent a day lying on the beach, and got some great pictures. Which brings me to #2-
  • I love to take pictures.  I’m mostly interested in landscapes and nature, not people.  I took some beautiful shots of Gulf Coast beaches.  And a dead sea turtle.
He’d eat your toes, if he weren’t dead.
  • I have a lot of strong, irrational aversions: mailing something at the post office; going in water where I can’t see the bottom, due to sea monsters (dead turtle is proof); broccoli; the word ginormous; wearing pajama pants or sweats in public; neck tattoos….

A big thanks to Ruth for the award!  And if you’re grossed out by the turtle picture, you can blame it on her.

New Facebook fan page

After months of trying to convince Facebook that I am not, in fact, the washed-up Missouri politician Ed Martin, and months of getting an automated response that they’d look into it, I decided, screw it; I’ll make a real author’s page that I don’t have to share with some guy who can’t even win a seat in the state legislature.

So, if you’re a fan on Facebook, please go to my new page and hit like. If you’re not a fan yet, well, now’s your chance to show your love.

Thanks!

I need to focus.

Current projects:

  • The Lone Wolf.  I’m hoping that after this latest round of edits (halfway through) I’ll be able to start sending out queries.  However, I realized that the beginning of the first chapter needs to be rewritten, again.  And chapter 15 should be two chapters, which means I need to write another Andrew chapter (fortunately his teenage sister thought she might be pregnant, requiring him to do some soul-searching with respect to his childless relationships and all the small people passing through his life).  Nine months to write the book, and apparently a lifetime to edit it.
  • A Handful of Wishes.  I’ve been thinking about this one a lot lately, especially Paribanu’s character and Zeke’s relationship with her.  If I weren’t so stubborn, I’d focus all my energy on this one and come back to The Lone Wolf when I’m a better writer because that one is more nuanced, I think. Oh well.
  • Various short stories and flash pieces.  The nice thing about flash is that if I have an idea, I can usually hash out a story in a day or two.  Then off to my critiquers, and out to the shark tank of the publication world within a week.  It’s a nice break from novels.

Upcoming projects:

  • Aida, the daughter in The Lone Wolf, is demanding a sequel.  She grew up to be just like her father, unfortunately.  This’ll possibly a future NaNoWriMo.
  • But not this year.  I have an idea for that already, and today I realized that it’s going to be half steampunk.  I’ve never written steampunk.  I’ve never even read it (someone said that 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea could be considered it).  My closest experience with it was Will Smith in Wild Wild West a dozen years ago.  So looks like my free nonwriting time will involve devouring everything I can on the genre.  And I know what you’re thinking – why not just write a non-steampunk novel?  Oh, Dear Reader, if only it were that easy.
  • I have a list of about a dozen journals I’d like to submit to, only no stories to send in.  So, hopefully working on finding pieces for homes, in addition to homes for pieces already written. On that note, I’ve been reading a lot of short stories recently, trying to see what’s out there.  Maybe with the school year starting soon, I’ll get some inspiration from my students.

What’s on your to-do list, either writing or reading?

Google+

Lots of people have a tech company preference: Mac v. Apple, Internet Explorer v. Mozilla’s Firefox v. Chrome, Windows v. Linux, etc., etc., etc.

I am no exception.  The love of my tech life is Google.  I prefer Google Docs to MS Office or Open Office and Drop Box.  Gmail to Hotmail or Yahoo.  I use Google Voice.  My website is run with Google Sites.  If they introduce Google Chip, inserted directly into your brain, I’ll be first in line for the beta test.

That being said, I’m on Google+ right now.  And honestly, at this point in time, I’m not sure why.  Granted I haven’t had much time lately to play around with it (moving and sporadic internet and out of town for new job training and spending time with my kid before he goes back to school), but from what I’ve seen Facebook seems like it’s a better medium for an up-and-coming writer, especially considering the ease with which you can integrate a blog and Twitter account.

On the other hand, a lot of people seem to really like Google+.  Are you there?  Follow me over there at http://gplus.to/edmartinwriter.  What do you think of it so far?

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