Thursday, September 20, 2012

Revisiting Blackberries

My daughter and I have been out picking blackberries again. Over the last few weeks, we've had three cobblers, and, OH MY were they awesome. Two of them were straight up blackberry cobblers, and the other was a blackberry-peach cobbler. Oh, the goodness. We even had homemade vanilla ice cream with the first one. We need to get out there at least once more before there quit being any blackberries to pick, but this past week has been too busy, and it doesn't look like that's going to change in the next few days. We want to make homemade blackberry ice cream, though, so I better figure out how to make it happen.

All of that aside, my wife told me I should write another post about blackberries like this one from last year. However, I don't think I really have anything new to say about blackberries. That's a pretty good post I wrote way back then about blackberries and writing, writing is still like picking blackberries for me, and I suspect it will always be that way. Which makes me think of something that Neil Gaiman said once, well, actually, no, it reminds me of something that Neil had said to him once after saying something like, "I thought after I finished my first book that I'd figured out how to write books, but this one is as hard as the first." And the author he was speaking with responded with something like, "You never figure out how to write books; you only figure out how to write the book you're writing." And that, to me, is like picking blackberries.

Anyway... All of this discussion about revisiting old topics got me to thinking about how the blog has changed since I started writing it a year and a half ago. I mean, back then, I would never have believed that I would spend any amount of time talking about grammar and punctuation. How boring is that? Didn't we want to escape school because of that stuff to begin with? But it's important, and there is an obvious lack of discussion about it if you spend any amount of time looking at independently published manuscripts.

I also had no idea how important reviews and honest reviews would become to me. There needs to be a lot more talk about that stuff, but, at least, that discussion is happening, especially with the (somewhat) recent news of authors buying hundreds of fake reviews to boost their exposure.

Still... it makes me kind of nostalgic for some of my older posts. My blog is not the same blog as it was back then, and it's hard to write those same kinds of posts these days. My mind just isn't in the same place, now, as it was then. Kind of like not going back to crawling after you've learned to walk. Except, in writing, it's like learning to walk over and over again. And over and over again. And again. So I've decided to start linking back to some of my more favorite posts from time to time, especially on Shadow Spinner release days. That seems like a good time for that to me. So, today, I encourage you to hop back in time and read the Blackberry Writing post if you weren't around to see it the first time. [And feel free to comment there, too, if you'd like. Just because it's an old post doesn't mean you can't comment!]

Speaking of Shadow Spinner!

Today is the big FREE! release of "Part Five: The Police Car." Did I say FREE!? Because it's FREE! So, yeah, you really have no excuse not to go over and pick it up. Of course, you might say, "But I don't have the others." Okay, well, to help you out, "Part Four: The Cop" will also be FREE! today. Sorry, but you're kind of on your own with parts 1 - 3. Amazon only gives me so many free days per quarter, and, as much as I'd like to make these FREE! all the time, I just can't do it. Believe me, I tried. So, to recap:
"Part Five: The Police Car" is FREE! Friday, September 21 and Saturday, September 22.
"Part Four: The Cop" is FREE! Friday, September 21 only.
This installment marks a turning point in the story. The new cover is a clue.
You should also pop over to Briane Pagel's blog to see what he has to say about Part 5, specifically,  and Shadow Spinner in general. I can't help including a couple of quotes here, though:
"...the first five chapters so far have less in common with Potter or the Pevensies than it does good Stephen King."
"I'd say Leon is reinventing the book, but really what he's doing is reintroducing the book to us..."

I didn't put him up to that. I promise. Makes it hard for me not to glow from the praise, though, which would be awkward for going out in public.

Also, because I've been meaning to for a while and still haven't put up a link on the side, you can find  me over on Goodreads here. Really, I'll get to the side link... sometime.

One last thing:
This is not precisely a follow up to stuff from my A to Z posts, but it kind of is. NASA is working on faster than light travel. I don't mean this in a purely theoretical sense either. There are actual laboratory experiments happening. Read the article here. Between this and the whole quantum communication thing, interstellar travel could be here within a generation or so. Boggles my mind!


  1. I'll have to stop by.
    My blog has changed so much in the past three years. I found my groove after the first few months and ran with that for over a year. And then the 2011 A to Z Challenge changed it again and that finally came together at the beginning of this year.
    I like where I am with my blog now. I don't blog for me anymore - I blog for my readers.

  2. Are you still sound the sugar free diet - because the way I expect the things you mentioned being made involves lots of sugar.

    I'm downloading pt 5 now.

  3. Yummy cobbler I could barely get through the post thinking about the cobbler. :) On NASA and Space makes ya wonder if we'll soon see those flying cars from The Jetson's in the near future. Great post enjoyed reading!

  4. Damn, now I'm going to have to go to the store for blackberry cobbler and ice cream.

    Love that Neil Gaiman quote too. I'm finding that very true as I write this current WIP. It isn't anything like the last novel I wrote.


    Now I want some.

    My blog has changed, too. I was looking over old posts the other day. It was strange to see how different the tone has gotten. I think my old posts sound kind of . . . naive now.

  6. Warp drive! Take that all you hard science fiction writers that got tired of warp drive copouts!

  7. In the spirit of strict honesty, the cobbler I make does not have -no- sugar in it. It has about 1/3 of the sugar that would be in a typical cobbler, and some additional sweetness is provided by sucralose. We also tend to eat our desserts a bit less sweet than others might prefer. Ditto on the homemade ice cream--I use 1/4 to 1/3 the amount of sugar that recipes call for (and there is a chemical reason for this quantity of sugar being in there, ice cream does not really freeze smoothly without some sugar in it--sugar performs similarly to alcohol in an ice cream recipe).

    In case anyone is inspired to make their own, this is the blackberry cobbler recipe I've been using: . And again, I use a lot less actual sugar, with some sugar substitute; I also sub in "white" whole wheat flour and use a combination of butter and shortening in the biscuit.

    And this is the vanilla ice cream recipe I'm using, pretty much: . With the 1/4 sugar + sucralose, also I sub in whole eggs rather than just yolks because I can't stand waste.

    Sarah aka Andrew's wife aka The Baker in the Family

  8. You've gone and made me hungry. I used to pick blackberries with the other girls when I worked at the living history museum. There's nothing like sun-warmed blackberries. NOTHING.

  9. Alex: Well, I certainly don't talk about grammar for my own benefit. heh
    Thanks for stopping by Briane's blog!

    PT: and they were!

    Rusty: Thanks!
    And see my wife's answer below.

    G_G: Well, those flying cars are out there. I did a post on those during a to z, also.

    L.G.: No! Go pick them! No store bought ones!
    That thing that was told to him is certainly true for me, too.

    Bess: Now I'll have to go back and look at your old posts...

    Michael: Yeah, it's pretty exciting.

    Sarah: Um... yeah, that's how you did it!
    I think...

    Callie: They are the Yummy!

  10. Nothing wrong with blogging about the same topics as one has done previously. I just wouldn't want to cut and paste an old post and pass it off as new. Variations on a theme and everything old is new again.

    My blog has changed in many ways from where it started, but I guess it all comes from experience and change of motivational drive.

    A Faraway View

  11. I don't post about the same things I used to, either. Every year I feel like my blog's focus changes slightly.

    They are literally working on FTL travel? Oh, I'm checking that out.

  12. Lee: I don't have an issue going back to an old topic if I have something new to say about it, but, when I look back at what I said previously and realize I don't have anything to add, there's really no point in just saying the same thing again. I may as well just point back to the old post and say "read that."

    TGE: Yeah, they really are. It's awesome!

  13. My blog now bears little resemblance to the one I started over a year ago. I do miss the spontaneity of those early days at times.

    I picked up the chapters!!

  14. Huray free stuff! I like the blurbs you put, too.

    Also, a heads up (if you want it) I tagged you in a meme thinger over at my blog. :)

  15. Anne: Thanks! I'm still waiting to hear what you think about them.

    Lynn(e): Thanks for the tagging!

    Which blurbs are you talking about? The quotes from Briane or the blurbs on Amazon for the different chapters?

  16. I think it's really cool how we'll be able to look back on our blogs and see how much we've evolved over the years...unless a massive EMP wipes out the internet and the world as we know it. If that happens, I guess we'll just have to console ourselves with blackberry cobblers ;-)

  17. Sam: Yeah, I'm unsure whether a giant EMP would be good or bad.
    Blackberry cobbler is not bad.