Tag Archives: I should not be trusted with sharp objects

And now is the time on sprockets when we dance.

My weekend of pretending I am a for realz writer person paid off in the added motivation I needed to finish the first draft of the short story I’ve been working on for three gorram months now. It is, of course, terrible, but since when has that ever stopped anyone? The job now is to go through it, change every instance of the thing I decided to change halfway through without going back to the beginning, somehow make the plot make sense, try to evaluate objectively whether or not the stunt-writey thing I was trying actually works (outside experts may need to be called in here), and probably cry a lot. If I drank, there would be a lot of that too.

But it’s a first draft. This was no particular call for submissions for this so I had to sort through the chaos myself to find something that worked on its own, which could be a good or bad thing, depending. My three sales have all been written to specific prompts, so take that for what you will.

But I still like the idea of the story, and the characters, and the basic set-up. I just need to make sure it pays off at the end, not to mention makes sense somewhere outside of my own head. This last part is the biggest challenge, since I have trouble coming up with a grocery list that makes sense outside of my own head.

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Posted by on June 16, 2010 in Uncategorized


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Victory and Da Feet (not a typo!)

After a week-long final push, during which I wrote 4 chapters, I have finally finished the first Draft of Voyages of the Prodigal: The Calculus of Hope. (btw, searching for a new title since this one is striking me as a little to Obama-y, not that that’s necessarily a bad thing). Let’s just say those final chapters are not the most brilliant writing I’ve ever produced, but as I’ve said before the first draft is all about the narrative. I’ll pretty-it-up later.

So now … there’s a short story I want to write this week, and then I will attack the book again in the re-write. I’m actually looking forward to that since I figured some things out on the first pass I want to bring forward a bit. And I still like the story. The ending could make more sense, but the spine of the thing is intact. It was a lot of fun to come up with since it’s just a fun adventure story, sort of a cross between a Planetary Romance, and a Space Opera (and yes, there is a fine distinction there). NOT hard sci-fi by any means.

I celebrated by doing several loads of laundry, during the course of which I went out to the garage to switch loads and stepped on a pretty big piece of glass from something the cat had knocked off a shelf and lacerated my foot badly enough that it required stitches, not to mention a tetanus shot. Yes, I am the one person alive who can injure themselves doing laundry. But it’s fine now. Still hurts like a mofo, but the doctor said I hadn’t hit the artery or severed a tendon, which I had not even realized were possibilities. Note to self: wear shoes in the garage because when you are carrying a huge basket you tend not to look down at the floor.

And while I’m glad this draft is finished, I don’t want to get too happy because there’s a lot of work left to do, and it would be easy to lose track of it here. But this is the draft actual beta readers will see (recruiting now!), so that in itself will be motivating. I think I might dole it out chapter by chapter to see if the whole serial-cliffhangery structure is actually working.

So, one draft down, probably many more to come. But it’s there, the story. Let’s hope it can start to make sense somewhere outside of my own head.

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Posted by on February 21, 2010 in life, writing


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things that have disturbed me lately

The vhs copy of Passion of the Christ on the shelf of kids videos in the waiting room in the psychiatrists office.

My cousin telling me, “Hey, my kids have seen that!”

The CPS worker totally ignoring my subsequent report.

The fact that I feel like I am trying to get the swine flu, but somewhere along my body is refusing to commit to it, and I’m just left with this annoying chest rasp/cough/headache combo that doesn’t even get me any sympathy and doesn’t even give me a workable excuse to take a nap.

Tom DeLay on Dancing with the Stars. The horror, the horror.

The “I want to sex you up,” dance number on Glee.

The fact that I have two dance-related traumas on this list now.

Festival Season in Northern California (actually, it’s ALWAYS festival Season in Northern California).

Tiberius trying to catch up with Caligula in the girth department.

The Predicate Adjective/Predicate Noun worksheet in my daughter’s Language Arts packet. It’s fifth grade, people! I don’t even need to know that crap. And I had to teach it to myself to teach it to 7th graders lo those many years ago.

Having to teach myself, once again, the difference between a predicate adjective/predicate noun.

Having already forgotten the difference between a predicate adjective/predicate noun.

Kanye West making me feel sorry for the Taylor-Swift-Bot.

That is all for now, but we’re headed to another festival, which is always a source of new material.


Posted by on October 3, 2009 in life



Just in case you were wondering …

ok, so yesterday’s post was a little strident, but I’m still glad I wrote and posted it. And it wasn’t really aimed at anyone, but I don’t really apologize for anything I said. I needed to say it. And if I used a firehouse instead of a squirtgun, well, that’s baseball.

That said, it’s kind of the end of a process of, as I said, staking out some territory for myself in the world and in my own head, and feeling like I’ve earned the right to call the universe on its bullshit.

And to call myself on my own bullshit, which, yeah, there’s a lot of.

But … done now. Will not comment further, will not engage in debate, will just let it stand as it is and get on with the business of living my own damn life and letting everyone else get on with theirs. The rest of this will probably get worked out in fiction, as all things do, for me, really.

But it’s also made me want to do something I felt weird about before, and that’s to can the intitials and start writing things under my own name.

So, no more pen name (since it was my own initials, it wasn’t exactly a pseudonym anyway). From now on, I publish as Chad Grayson.

Hey, I’m a certified crazy. I’m allowed.


Posted by on September 21, 2009 in life, writing



Zen and the Art of Budget Grocery Shopping

I hate grocery shopping. There, I said it. I’m kind of not a fan of shopping in general (unless there’s something cool I really want and I have the money for — a rare, rare occurence these days) but grocery shopping for someone like me … there’s always a point, about halfway through, where I just sort of lose the will to live. This usually happens in the spice aisle, when I’m looking for some very specific ingredient my wife needs for a recipe off of food network. Fivespice? Really? Can’t I just, like, grab some randoms spices in the house and make my own.

I know, all of the foodies and chefs in the audience just cancelled their pre-orders for my upcoming cookbook, “A Geek’s guide to kitchen survival: 100 recipes using just hamburger, tortillas, and Worcester Sauce.”

I cook a lot, because I am the one who is home. But nothing complicated. And, at my wife’s request, nothing that involves the use of knives. If you have to wonder why, you have obviously not been paying attention.

Anyway, I have a very specific list and try not to wander far away from it. And in these times, when money is really tight, I have discovered the joy of store brands, and this little magic label below every shelf called “price per ounce.” I love the price per ounce label. And I make a game of everything, calculating the prices per ounce against the main brands we usually by, and the “value-difference,” which is what I know of the difference between how some things taste compared to the brand names. On most items, the value difference is 0. In some cases (store brand instant fruit and cream oatmeal mix), i actually like the store brand better. There’s really only been one thing that is better in the brand name, and that is Honey Nut Cheerios. Tried the bag variety. Not. As. Good.

So, I play this little math game, hum songs to myself, ignore my six-year-old grabbing things off the shelf to scan the prices (unless he accidentally trips an old person, which requires attention), and 2/3 of the way through the trip, a few aisles past the spice-search induced meltdown, can reach this calm, serene place that gets me through at least to the meat section, when I have to fight with the little plastic bags that always stick together, but which I require to protect myself from the chicken gunk that always congeals on the outside of the package. Seriously, what’s up with that stuff? It’s really, really gross.

Unless my daughter is with me, and then she can open those bags.

I don’t really know what the point of this was, except to further illustrate the already well-established fact of my dorkitude, and expand it into yet another category. But I guess that is its own achievement.


Posted by on August 13, 2009 in life


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An open letter to certain people in my life …

I am using the term “people” loosely here.

To my children: No, you did not pick up the living room. When I asked you to pick up the living room, and you dragged me by the hand to show me how clean it really is and how I really should be happy with it, these are the things that I saw: an open cereal box laying on its face on the floor, a wiimote, a plastic plate with five half-eagle bagel bites from yesterdays lunch, some underwear I really hope is clean (no, son, it is not mine! I gave up the spider-man underoos months ago), shoes, a hannah montano fuzzy poster set with markers, an open board game, coloring books, a couple of empty plastic tumblers, dice (I must assume this is connected to the board game?), kleenex, and a paint brush. When I said I wanted to the floor “vaccum ready,” I guess I wans’t being clear enough …

To my dogs: The deer are not a threat. I repeat, the deer are not a threat. Neither are the joggers and early morning walkers, or the people pushing baby carriages. The mail carrier may be considered a threat when she is carrying bills, but she also brings us our netflix movies, so we’ll give her a pass too, ok? YOU CAN STOP BARKING AT ALL OF THESE THINGS!

also, the midnight bark is not a competition. I understand that you need to relay the information about those lost dalmation puppies, but there are plenty of you out there, you don’t need to get it across the whole county by yourself.

Feel free to bark all you want at the zombies, though. But we won’t know it’s zombies if you are barking all the time …

To the wii fit: No, I will not tell you if I have seen Tiffa in a while. I will not tell you how she’s looking these days. And I will not tell you if she’s dating anyone. It’s over, man … let it go.

that is all.

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Posted by on July 11, 2009 in life


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Yes, I’ve neglected this blog and need to stop doing that, but let’s move on. Here’s a catch-up post with a lot of random stuff I probably could turn into individual blog entries if I wanted to take the time to really develop them … but right now most of my writing time is taken up with noveling and short story-ing, but more on that later.

Some of these thoughts have been inflicted on my facebook/twitter friends, so I apologize for any redunancies for my facebook/twitter friends, who may have read some of these thoughts before. Again, I apologize for the redundancy.

The swine flu is freaking me out, mostly because of my memories of The Stand, much of the first third I read while staying overnight by myself in the apartment of a friend who did not have a television, and lived in one of those run-down, kind-of redneck apocalypse neighborhoods. And I think there was a wind-storm. Add that memory to the mini-series with a cart-pushing Kareem-Abdul Jabbar ringing a bell and shouting “Bring out your Dead!” and you can understand my feelings. And yes, I know it’s all hype and this is really just a regular flu season with some unfortunate early medical reporting, but y’all are going to have to humor me if I take my family and start heading to Boulder, just in case, ok?

The writing is going pretty well right now, despite the fact that I’ve had a for realz day job the last month or so. It looks like it’s winding up now, so I will be forced, once again, to work with no externally imposed structure, which is always a crap shoot.

Right now how I’m writing short stories between chapters of Maps of Perdition, and I have a couple of Beta readers (Hi, Lena and Jennie!) looking at the chapters as I’m going along. A couple of people who are readers but not necessarily major sci-fi fans, and they help me make sure the characters are working and I’m maintaining internal consistency. Just finished chapter three and am now working on a bright-happy retro-future space opera short story, kind of using a doc savage and his team in space concept. The main problem is it’s threatening to turn into a novel, but I keep beating it down.

Well, there’s that problem, and zombie plotcreep, but I’m avoiding that pretty well too.

I’m really looking forward to the release of Footprints this summer. I’ll post the amazon link as soon as it’s up there. But for now, here is the cover:


I am especially excited because this collection is co-edited once again by Eric T. Reynolds, with Jay Lake as co-editor. There are some fantastic writers in here, such as James Van Pelt, and Lawrence Schoen, as as I read the proof and looked at the contents list, it felt a little bit like a game of “one of these things is not like the other…” but there I am. Who’da thunk it? Side note: thinking of changing my pen to “and more …” but my wife said that probably wasn’t a good idea. For a full list of the writers in this collection, go here.

And I would like to thank a good friend who has some connections, and who had my copy of Barren Worlds surreptitiously removed from my bookshelf and returned it with this inscription inside the front cover”


You may have heard my very manly squee a couple of days ago when I first saw this. So, thank you Liz!

anyway … this is getting long, so …

I am now on twitter. you can follow me, if you care to. my userid is chadgrayson. I should actually say “please follow me so I don’t feel like a loser,” but that might be just a little too pathetic, so i probably should say that. Please disregard that previous sentence.

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Posted by on May 3, 2009 in culture, life, writing


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