Taking Charge

on March 23, 2010 in Misc

printing press

In the second half of this Year of our Lord 2010, I plan on turning into a self-publishing maniac.

Remember how back in December I wrote about why I was planning to self-publish The Compass Master, starring Layla Daltry?  Well, I have a confession to make:  I’ve got three manuscripts ready for printing.

The other two are historical romps set in America in the late 1860’s.  I finished them both several years ago, tried to get an agent, and after more than dozen rejections (nearly all in reaction solely to my query letter for the first manuscript only), I grew discouraged and gave up.  Next I wrote Compass, thinking it was more commercial, therefore more likely to be snapped up by a publisher …

Damn, I was delusional!

Bear in mind that I already have one published novel (way back in 1989/1990), Prophecies, on Bantam.  So I’m not a novice to the publishing game.

You know, having three unpublished novels sitting around in your head and in your home ain’t healthy.  It’s kinda like having writer’s constipation.  Like putting a fundamental part of your life on hold.   And so I really can’t tell you how deeply happy and strangely free I feel (no more backed-up crud in my soul) every time I think that in only a few months at most, after I finish editing, my novel Charity MacCay and the Almighty Dollar will be in print.  Shortly after that, Charity MacCay and Holy Relations and The Compass Master will come out, and all under my control.

three books

The reason I have to delay Compass’s printing is because I’m still in the process of obtaining copyright permission.  Two stanzas of a Monty Python song appear in the manuscript along with quotes from a non-fiction book.  Let me tell you, this permission stuff is really tedious and takes so LONG!  Especially if you’re dealing with solicitors in London.

When these novels are finally in book form I will, of course, shamelessly talk them up on this blog and include a link to them on Amazon (and hopefully in local Denver bookstores).  I will also have to thank writers like Hart Johnson.  She has a great blog with her Confessions of a Watery Tart, in which she encourages fellow writers and provides a helpful list of other literary blogs.

And while I’m at it, I SWEAR I’m going to get my geek up and figure out how to list other people’s blogs and stuff here in my own space.  I also have to figure out how to replace “Admin” with Helena.  Not that Admin isn’t a lovely name.

Finally, a postscript of appreciation to a couple of readers:

Robert – you’re a “barely-competitive Olympic-style weightlifter”?  Wow.  That’s a whole lot better than anything I’ve ever been, physically speaking.  What goes on in those competitions?  Besides a lot of grunting and sweating, I mean.  (Hot, sweaty men – what a pleasant thought.)

Ben – if you’ve got a blog, send me the link, because I definitely want to check it out.   It’s good to know you’re a writer too.

10 Responses to “Taking Charge”

  1. Robert L. Read says:

    Actually, Olympic weightlifiting competitions also have sweaty, buff and hot women. Since it is based on weight-classes, only the highest weight classes have people you would describe as fat. Since once you get to the highest weight bracket it no longer matters how much you weigh, those people tend to be chunky, but at the lower weight divisions people are very muscular.

    My single-contest was a regional thing in Louisiana, with about 40 men and 10 women. About half the men were very young men, probably college football and basketball players. At 32 I was one of the older men there. I weighed 241, a super-heavyweight, when I competed.

    The way it works is very rigid. Weight is always added to the bar, never taken away. Women use a slightly thinner bar than men, and men over 35 are considered “Masters” and so at this contest there were three ramping-ups of the bar for each class of lifter.

    You compete in two events, the “snatch” and the “clean and jerk”. (The names are suggestive, but not of the activities you actually compete in.) The “snatch” uses a wide grip in which you pull the bar off the floor, make it go fast, and then squat underneath it and hope it doesn’t crush you, rising to a standing position, all in one motion lasting about 1.5 seconds. It is the most explosive output of power that a human being can do. I snatched about 170 pounds on that day. Competitive would have been to snatch more than my bodyweight, and snatching twice your bodyweight is world-record class performance.

    The clean-and-jerk is raising the bar to your throat, standing up, and then pushing the bar upright and jumping under it again and rising so that it is above your head, and holding still for 3 seconds. I jerked 200 pounds on that day, but was DQed for bending an elbow a little, so my second-best jerk counted (190 pounds.) Highest total of snatch and clean-and-jerk wins in their weight class, ties going to lighter lifter, so people weight in naked (but not me!)

    After you make a lift, you have the tell the judge what your next attempt will be, and generally you do something you are confident of on your first lift and go up from there for the next two attempts in each event.

    I was proud of my performance, but skinny football plays that weighed 50 lbs less lifted about the same weight I did. However, at that time I was incredibly strong, relatively speaking. I had a vertical leap of about 24 inches. It is a great sport, much healthier than power-lifting. It takes a lot of strength, but it also takes timing, coordination and balance to get the bar above your head on locked arms, so it develops a “functional” athletic ability to that using a machine or powerlifting, which force simple movements, don’t require.

  2. admin says:

    I really had no idea what went on in these competitions. The pure athleticism that you describe is downright thrilling. I especially like the way you say a snatch is the “most explosive output of power that a human being can do.” What an achievement! You really should be proud of yourself and the discipline it took to get to that physical level. As for moi — you’re talking to someone who’d stagger like a drunk if she had to lift half her body weight. But now you’ve really inspired me to work a hell of a lot harder on my wimpy semi-chin ups. I’m even going to go out and buy a couple weights that are heavier than my pathetic ten pounders.

  3. Robert L. Read says:

    I personally think Olympic-style weightlifting is a well-kept secret of fitness. This is hard even for me to believe, but I think I gained 30 pounds of muscle in the 6 months that I began lifting. Lifting a bar over your head is intimidating, and health-clubs discourage because of the real possibility of dropping the bar and having it roll into another customer, or at minimum damaging the floor or the bar. (Real weightlifting is done with “bumper” plates that are soft rubber and can be safely dropped from 7 feet.)

    I recommend it to women. Even if you only lift 50 pounds, it is an excellent exercise. I intend to start doing it again, once my separated shoulder is healed. (I hurt it doing a parkour roll with a foam broadsword in my hand.)

  4. Ben says:


    The main idea behind my blog is that I treat every day like it’s New Years. I set a daily resolution for myself to follow/complete the following day, then I blog about it. I was getting fed up with not completing small/simple tasks that needed to be done… so I find it very helpful to blog about it, and it forces me to do the things I would usually set aside for “later”.

    By “writer” I guess most people don’t imagine an 18 year old guy who is in the middle of writing a novel, but rather a seasoned journalist or something. But, hey, a writer is someone who writes, and I definitely write, so I guess I am a “writer”.

  5. admin says:

    Parkour with a foam sword? That sounds like fun.
    In Parkour I failed one time to tuck enough in a dive roll and hurt what I thought was a muscle in my neck. My chiropractor said it was a rib slightly out of whack, so he put it back into whack. A separated shoulder is so much more painful!

  6. Robert L. Read says:

    I’m a writer as well—I’m shopping a novelette about algebra for smart girls 11-13. It has a back-story that has some “adventure” writing in it. However, I have so far made a total $55 as a writer, but as Ben says, I definitely write, so I guess I am a “writer”.

  7. admin says:

    I checked out your blog — what a great idea. Setting a goal of getting something done every day would be tough for a procrastinator like me. And maintaining a blog certainly constitutes writing. As for writing a novel — I’m pretty sure that Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley started writing Frankenstein around the age of eighteen or nineteen and finished around twenty-one. So go for it!

  8. admin says:

    Damn straight. And $55 for your writing is more than I’ve made in a long time. Even with my humble self-publishing plans, I’ll probably never even make my investment back.
    What a cool idea for a YA novelette. I sucked big time at algebra, and as an adult I wish I’d made more of an effort to learn it. When your book is in print (and it will be!) I’d love to check it out.

  9. Ann says:

    I’m so glad you’re going to publish your novels.Then we can meet the “real” Layla. And I’ve enjoyed reading the comments your blog has generated. You have an interesting group of readers. I have a question. Are you actually taking fencing and Aikido at the same time? How many nights a week do you “work out”? It all sounds pretty intense.

  10. admin says:

    I take fencing two nights a week and Aikido weekend mornings. Unfortunately for now this means I can’t sleep in on any day of the week. There’s a small workout room in the basement of my office building so 4-5 afternoons a week a try to get down there for a quickie. Makes me feel better after sitting so much at a desk.
    And as for the real Layla — she’s ready to make her appearance in the real world. Just wish those dang copyright permissions could come through.