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Thursday, February 23, 2006

Sooner Born and Sooner Bred

As I stated a few weeks ago, I'll be speaking at the University of Oklahoma (sponsored by the Black Student Association) next Monday. The info is a follows:

February 27th @ 7:00 PM
University of Oklahoma
Henderson-Tolson Cultural Center, Room A
Norman, OK

I graduated from OU five years ago and haven't been back to campus in three years. I'm very curious to see how things have changed, and I've very eager to speak to some of the students. I've already got a small contingent of co-eds ready to beat me up because of the ending of Red Polka Dot.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Time Flies When You're Preoccupied With Your Day Job

I can't believe it's been a week since I last posted to the blog. Looking back over the past few months, I'm amazed at how bad I've been at posting on a regular basis. Work has been killer for the past few months for me. The work has been extremely challenging (which I love), but by the end of the day, I'm exhausted. By the time I get home, the last thing I want to do is write. I'd love to quit my job and write full time, but as I've said on many other occasions, that's not really an option right now.

I've been working on my novel, but instead of finding 2 hours a day to devote to it, I find that it's more like 60 minutes broken into 15-minute intervals. Then, when you take into account my laptop is on it's last legs (it shut off three times yesterday afternoon), you can see why I haven't been so keen on writing lately.

March should be better, with two projects at the office reaching major milestones, and with Mrs. V going off to China for a few weeks. And no, I'm not exactly happy to see her leave, but I think the time alone may help me to refocus on the novel I'm working on. Maybe this sounds a little sexist, but it's damn hard to write sometimes when you have a spouse that demands attention. And while I like giving her attention, I don't like creeping out of bed at 5:30 in the morning to get writing done, just so I can spend my evenings watching Dancing With the Stars.

Sometimes, I think I'd be better off if I got an MFA and taught - THEN maybe I'd find time to write. Hell, I'd even go to school for 6 years to get a Ph.D. in engineering, just so maybe I could find time to write. Of course, knowing my luck, teaching would take up more time than my job does now. And I hate research.

Okay, so this post is really more of a rant than anything, but dammit, everyone deserves a rant every once in a while. Then again, maybe Johnny "Guitar" Watson can sing it better than I can.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Easy Like Sunday Morning

Mrs. V and I played hookey today and decided to skip church. Usually, my morality starts nagging at me when I think about skipping church, but today, I was surprised how comfortable I was with the decision. Maybe I was okay because I got to spend some much-needed quality time with Mrs. V. I was in Fort Worth from Wednesday to Friday, and then I came home just long enough to go to bed before I headed to Houston on Saturday.

This morning, I treated Mrs. V to breakfast in bed. I'm no gourmet chef, so she had to settle for bacon and cinnamon rolls. The bacon was a little on the "Cajun" side, but Mrs. V didn't seem to mind. After breakfast, we watched Crash. I was surprised how much I liked this movie - I think it does a great job of exposing our problems with stereotypes. I highly recommend it.

We took a quick power nap after the movie, and then headed to our Salsa class. So far, it's been very...interesting. We rotate partners a lot, so it's a nice change-up to dance with someone different. So far, I've only stepped on my partner's toes once. Unfortunately, she was wearing open-toed shoes.

Now, I'm trying to catch up on some much-needed writing. Things with the new manuscript seem to be going well, but I won't really know until I have a few more chapters under my belt. I will say this much - it's the first novel in a long time that I've attempted to write from a male POV. Peter/Isaiah/Joshua (I haven't quite finalized his name yet) is a very interesting character. I really like the story that he's telling.

Also, thanks to everyone that showed up the book signing in Houston. I really enjoyed seeing a lot of old friends. And Catherine and Catrina - thanks for being my cheerleaders.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Upcoming Author Appearances

For those of you in Houston and South Texas, please come out and see me at my upcoming book signing this weekend:

February 11th @2:00 PM
Borders - Meyerland
Houston, TX


In addition, I'll be making an appearance at the University of Oklahoma at the end of the month (Feb 27th @7:00 PM, additional details to come at a later date).

I wish I had more time to list some of the things going on with me, but being that I have to get up early for a series of meetings and workshops tomorrow (I'm in Fort Worth for the next 2 days), I leave you all with 10 random thoughts of the day:

1) Cynthia Leitich Smith has a great (and newly redesigned) site.

2) I hate waiting to hear back from potential literary agents. I wonder if they're aware of how much they torture us.

3) The NFL is starting to get a little ridiculous with their censorship issues. They blotted out a few lyrics from the Stones, but they show Seahawks Cheerleaders and Go Daddy Commercials?

4) I'm sick and tired of hearing about Jerome Bettis, and I'm sick of hearing played-out one-liners featuring some reference to "The Bus."

5) I love hotel beds.

6) I still have to get Mrs. V a gift for Valentine's Day. I hope she likes black, lacy clothes.

7) According to my father, eating cold poultry products will give you worms.

8) Coretta Scott King was a phenomenal woman.

9) Does anyone give a damn about the Winter Olympics anymore?

10) I really wish I could find more time to write.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Filet Mignon or Raman Noodles

I really wish I hated my job.

Things are really busy at the 9-to-5, so much so that I haven't been nearly as committed to writing as I should be. I've been setting time aside to write, but I've been so mentally beat up, I can't seem to focus when I'm sitting down in front of the computer. If I hated my job, it would be so easy to quit and to find something else less draining. But I'm good at what I do, I get paid pretty well to do it, and I really like it.

I wonder how authors force themselves to take the plunge and commit themselves to writing full-time. Some authors have turned away from very lucrative careers in order to pursue their real passion - writing. I must be a coward, because even if I hated my job, I don't think I could abandon it to write full-time. I'll be honest; I like a steady paycheck. I like writing checks and not worrying about if they're going to bounce. Mind you, a lot of authors that write full-time make enough money so that they don't worry about bills. But being that Red Polka Dot isn't on anyone's best seller list, I don't see my royalty checks covering much more than a few combo meals from Popeye's.

I may be a coward, but at least I'm not a hungry coward.