So I finished the first draft of the second book in The Mapmaker Series Tuesday and the final couple days of constant writing burnt me out a little.

That’s my excuse, such as it is.

Hopefully I’ll have something for the Writer’s Campaign Monday.

Maybe…

I’m a big fan of Dancing with the Stars, but I’m not what you would call a faithful viewer. In truth I’ve only seen a handfull of episodes, but DwtS is the only show I’d make an effort to catch live.

It’s fascinating to watch these highly talented successful people attempt to master dancing. Whatever their reasons for signing onto the show, I love watching the survivors progress from awkward to amazing by the finals. Unlike most reality television, this is real. We’re watching champions compete. It’s incredible. What you see is real drive, struggle, and triumph. Being popular won’t save you and being athletic might work against you. You have to want the Mirrorball, be willing to work to survive, and have the right dancing partner. That’s what makes it so much fun. I have to admit that there is also some fun to be had laughing when cocky contestants realize that they’re not nearly as good as they think they are.

Last week I had the honor of working as a Story Assistant for Dancing with the Stars while one of this season’s contestant was in my home town. I could say names, but that’s not what I want to talk about. I’m also being a little paranoid. I don’t want to be sued for a million dollars for disclosing anything. I’m no good at gossip anyway. I just don’t know what’s juicy.

So, what’s a Story Assistant?

Good question. For all of you who think Hollywood is glamorous.(Still awesome but not glamorous. It’s hard work!) This is the sort of stuff you get to do for years at measly pay. I’m not even sure I got the title right. The job I did involved following the producer/camera/audio man around taking notes on what was going on in rehearsal and getting time-codes. This would go on for as long as they needed to rehearse. (That’s as much as you’ll get from me. 😛 ) Then it was time to log it all by reviewing at all the tapes. You re-watch everything you just watched live, sometimes you have to watch parts repeatedly. You have to make sure that every single time-code, event, and quote are right. Can you say tedious? Really cool if you think about it. But TEDIOUS. Maybe I’m slow since its not my thing, but it took me twice as long to log as it did to go through the rehearsal.

I’m having a blast watching the show. Knowing what goes on behind the scenes to get all the rehearsal footage and having had the privilege of seeing the process completely raw is freakishly cool.

At least I know who I’m voting for this season!

So yesterday my dad surprised me with a ride in a super sweet 1929 Ford Tri-Motor. The first real production passenger aircraft. Isn’t it gorgeous?

I felt like I should have brought my fedora or bowler hat. My first thought was of the Waco seaplane Indiana Jones boards to escape the natives. I really love old planes. Actually I love ALL airplanes, but old school prop planes, military or otherwise, hold a special place in my heart. There is nothing like the sound of a prop, and nothing like the feel of the ground being left behind.

Man, I miss flying…

So it’s time for the first challenge of the Platform-Building Campaign.

Here are the instructions:

Write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, “The door swung open” These four words will be included in the word count.

If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), use the same beginning words and end with the words: “the door swung shut.” (also included in the word count)

For those who want an even greater challenge, make your story 200 words EXACTLY!

And here is my entry. 200 words. It was fun. 🙂

    The door swung open and hit Jamie squarely in the nose. She bit back the curse and tiptoed into the dark room beyond. Pausing to listen, she thought it sounded like the big man was sleeping, but she wasn’t certain.

    Willing herself to take her time and not rush the job, Jamie went to work. She’d spent the better part of a month eliminating the kinks in this scheme. Deftly, she attached mechanisms engineered just for this mission to each brass bedpost.

    Midway through installing the last gizmo on the post nearest her prey’s head, the man grunted and a squeak of surprise escaped her. For one breathless moment she thought she it was over, but the man just rolled over.

    Jamie tightened the last screw and the mechanism whirred quietly to life.

    The trap was set.

    Holding her breath, Jamie crept toward the door. Victory was hers.

    Her foot had only just touched the threshold when the room flooded with light.

    “You lose,” boomed a voice from behind.

    The mechanisms detonated in a rainbow flash of colorful feathers and paint.

    Her brother scowled at her, looking hilariously like a wet parrot.

    Doubled in laughter, Jamie swung the door shut.

I love street art. I think I always have, even back in the days when it was mostly just old school graffiti. And when the more recent trend gave rise to Banksy and Shepard Fairy, I got hooked. There is just something about street art, especially before it became trendy, that speaks to me.

Beauty and rebellion. Art for the common man on the street that makes you stop and think.

Me likey.

Anyway I just wanted to share some of the art of El Mac. I saw the piece I’m posting below in LA a number of times, and each time I drove past I wished the traffic were slower. If you’ve ever lived in LA you know that’s just downright blasphemous!

El Mac.

Whoa, that’s a mouthful.

So here’s the thing, I’ve been internet-shy all year. For some strange reason I’m wary of the faceless mob that lives on the other side of the connection. Part of the problem is that I just don’t know where to start…

Well I’ve found my starting point. As long as I’m not too late signing up. (At least this time it’s not due to procrastination. I just found out about this a couple of hours a go via ZOVA’s Molly.)

It sounds like a great way to not only build your following, and discover new writers, but even make some friends.

If it sounds interesting at all you should check out Rachel Harrie’s Blog Post on the Campaign and check out some of the other peeps taking part.

I’m not going to lie. Motivation is not coming easy in August. Dog days I guess.

I did manage to make a postcard that will be going out to Middle School Libraries. I intended to send it out to arrive on Labor Day, but that’s just not going to happen. It’s a bit harder to get stuff done when you don’t have a teacher or a boss as a motivator. I’m quite happy with the way it turned out and hopefully it’s eye-catching enough to intrigue some librarians. I’m considering addressing them to “The Head Book Wrangler” just to be different. I’m sure they all get tons of junk mail and anything to attract attention to East to Adonia is good.

Here’s the postcard:

I am absolutely useless this week. I can’t even manage to get a picture of my new cat.

In other news, my computer has decided that crashing and overheating while doing the most menial of tasks is fun to do multiple times a day. Looks like I’ll be getting a new one within the month. I’m just not sure which to get. I’m tempted to get a System76, which runs Linux. I’m told that you can get OSX to work on a couple of them since they use similar components. I’d get a mac, but they’re a little too Big Brother right now for my tastes. I like the idea of using Ubuntu, but I want my Photoshop…

Oh, what First World Problems I have.