Tag Archives: new writing project

My speech recognition software finally came in

Greetings, readers. Every penny that I spent on Nuance Dragon NaturallySpeaking Premium voice recognition software was well worth it. It only took fifteen minutes for the program to learn my voice well enough so that I could dictate an email. Most impressive. I think this is going to be the shot in the arm I need to get my writing career going again. I have a couple of ideas, I just have to get them going. I’m going to talk to my boss at work and see if I can’t take a few months off. Walking to buses in the brutal cold and snow and/or ice, is something my handicapped body is not looking forward to. Call my a wimp if you want to, but I think I will ask if I can return in the springtime.

This voice recognition program has a feature that I was not expecting. It will read back to me what I dictated … in my own voice. Rebecca had an overwhelming reaction because it reminded her of something she heard about the late movie critic Roger Ebert, who had mouth cancer and lost the ability to talk. When they added a feature to his typing equipment that used his own voice from previous recordings to read out his words, his wife cried the first time she heard it, as it had been so long since she had heard his voice. I can talk just fine, I just can’t type or write longhand for any length of time.

While I got this software on sale, it wasn’t exactly $9.99, so believe me when I tell you I’m going to make good use of it.

The first project I have in mind to use it for is a book about former sports stadiums that have been demolished and what the land is used for now. The idea hit me last week in the middle of the night. It woke me enough to take a couple of notes about it. That is how I knew it was going to be a good idea. I love sports, classic things such as stadiums, and it is going to be such fun to learn about and report what’s on those sites. Old stadiums have long been an interest of mine, for I have been a sports buff since I was a child. In 2013, I did a top ten list on stadiums that have gone by the wayside, and was interested to see that many of the stadiums on the list are ones I want to research for the new book.

If I can get that voice recognition program to work without much hassle, I think this might be the project that kicks me in the proverbial butt. Cross thy fingers.

On a side note, I finished binge-watching the second part of the third season of Fuller House. A very cute season and already we can see the children growing up. The middle kids are in high school already. Good grief. SPOILER ALERT: Stephanie and boyfriend Jimmy are trying to get pregnant with Kimmy Gibbler as the surrogate. The final scene of the season finale was sweet and touching. With the announcement that Kimmy has baby on board that leads me to believe that there is definitely going to be a fourth season. I already can’t wait.

Okay, there you are up to date with what is going on with me. I am in a heck of a better mood than I was yesterday. It’s now time to go feed Kitty who’s been very good, edit this blog and post it.

Until next week, take care, have a good weekend, and happy reading.

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My last blog entry until I get back from camp

Greetings, readers. I am dictating the last blog of my year, I measure a year from vacation to vacation, as I sip a Coors Light. I spent most of the morning doing loads of laundry which will be packed in a day or two. I’m trying desperately to keep up with my tasks so I don’t get behind on what I need to do. A week from today I will be leaving and trust me, this week is going to go fast. Between having Rebecca here for two days of work next week and four work shifts at my fast food job, I’m not going to have a lot of time to do other things. My feet will be hurting and I will be quite tired. Rest and sleep will be #1 priorities on the down-time list.

For those of you who read yesterday’s blog – great view numbers by the way – I did locate my Take-to-Maine list and have begun to set a few things aside. I’ve also been in contact with my employer to make certain of what days and hours I work. I may need to ask off for the day before I leave; things might get too hectic around here.

What else is news with me? Well, I’ll share something with you. I am a huge fan of On Golden Pond. I had an idea for a sequel and wrote to one of the movie’s co-stars to test the waters of interest. To my happy surprise, Doug McKeon (young Billy Ray) wrote back to me. He told me that Ernest Thompson, who wrote the play, would have to be contacted before any work could be produced from my project. Even if I could not get permission from Mr. Thompson to use his characters, I still might work on the project just for fun and practice anyway when I get home. You never know what it might lead to.

I know I talk about the weather a lot, but after two beautifully cooler days, the humidity is back and it is forecast to rain in the early evening. I’ll have to bring my hoodie with me to work because I don’t want to stand at the bus stop this evening and wait unprotected. I certainly don’t want to get a cold right before vacation. That would be dreadful. My work shift today is 3pm to 8pm. I do love my job but believe me at the end of the shift my feet are ready to go home and be put up.

There is a little bit of a lull in town now, in between the arts festivals and the beginning of the college football season which begins in late August. If my sources are correct, the first four out of five games are at home. That is where I will be able to see if I am cut out to work the register at my job.

Next Wednesday I will be here but I will be doing last-minute chores. The blog will be written by Rebecca and if I’m here at the appropriate time, I will help edit it. I would like to take this opportunity right now to once again thank all of my readers for reading me and enjoying my blog over the past year. Trust me, this ride is nowhere near over.

Until soonest, take care, have a great couple of weeks, and happy reading.

Novel underway and coming along nicely

Greetings, readers. For the first time in many years I am absolutely psyched about a project, other than the blog or one of my performances. In the last two days I have written six pages and 2,100 + words. About a month ago I had an idea for a novel and I just decided to go for it. I do understand that six pages does not usually equal a chapter, but I got to a good stopping point, and it is still a first draft. The first draft is what I call creating the skeleton. Once I have the skeleton in place, I can add the muscles and tendons, the skin, and the features. In other words, I can flesh it out, no pun intended.

Without going into too much detail and ruin anything, it is a paranormal story. I am quite intrigued by that phenomenon. Unfortunately, readers, I am going to keep details to myself for now. I shall share little tidbits as the book progresses. As some of you may know, beginnings of my projects have always been my bugaboos. If I can just pop it into second gear, I’ve got a chance. And yesterday, for the first time in years, I felt that gear click in.

Another huge thing that I did which I believe will be a major plus, was to use my computer calendar to set up what I call work shifts. Just as if I was going to work at a store or café, I set up blocks of time to put my butt in the chair and type. So far so good. Yesterday I was supposed to work until 2pm – okay, okay, I conked out at 12:45, but for me that was a good start. It is going to take a while for me to build up writing stamina but it will happen.

Most writers write an outline and know exactly where their writing project will go next. I don’t. Which is probably why I have failed so much. I’ve always been the kind of person to take a story to a certain point in my mind, write it down, and then see where the story goes next. Although it is only the first six pages in the first draft, I am getting the sense that my characters are a bit flat. When I wrote my play Kimberly, poor Lyle Detmore never did come to life, until Rebecca’s husband Darren turned the project into a novel. Now there is a writer for you. This time I have hope that the editing process down the road will help me with this problem.

The photographs from my latest show, which was on December 2, 2016, are now up on the Performance Pictures page. I proposed to Traci in between the sets, and I have included a couple of pictures with the two of us. Please feel free to check them out.

On a side note, condolences go out to the family of the Penn State student who passed away the other day at one of the fraternities. It was a horrible tragedy. No parent should have to bury their child.

Well, there is today’s blog entry. I will working on my writing project today from 2pm to 5pm. Wish me luck that the engine keeps running. I will put a new blog entry up tomorrow, I am taking a personal day to write more on my story and Rebecca will edit the blog entry from home and post it.

Until then, have a great day, take care, and happy reading.

I’m already challenged by my Amish writing project

Greetings, readers. My personal writing project about the Amish took a kick in the belly yesterday when I discovered a TV series on YouTube dealing with exactly what I wanted to write about. I must learn to not let that deter me. I need to just write what I am going to write, tell my story, and worry about all other details later. If it is meant to work out, it will.

I was going to keep this a secret, but my idea was to tell a story about an Amish family which is dealing with either a haunting or a poltergeist. I was so proud of myself, I thought I had come up with something original. Ha ha. I discovered a series called Amish Haunting and thought, so much for my idea. What to do, what to do. I decided not to let that deter me. If I am going to be a writer, I have to get over or get around the first huddle, instead of stopping in front of it.

I could barely sleep last night thinking about how I will gather the knowledge needed to do my project. A place that is relatively close to where I live is called the Amish Village. It is in Lancaster, PA. I’m seriously considering renting a Zipcar next Friday and taking Traci for a day trip. Yes, it would be an expense, but it might be worth it to have my questions answered by an actual Amish person. My big question is, would they allow a paranormal team with their high-tech equipment to come into their home to investigate? Another question is, what is the usual response from the Amish community and church to paranormal activity?

As usual when I begin writing projects, I can’t seem to get them going. I always jump ahead of myself and either see problems that are still down the line, or I’m not certain how to proceed if an issue crops up. I’m very good at writing the beginnings, and what I want the cover to look like, but not so good at writing the book. I vow to change that.

I shall keep next Friday open in case I do decide to take that day trip. If nothing else it will be fun and educational. If I hit pay dirt I shall have the answers I seek. I must be prepared, however, to understand if the Amish don’t wish to speak about such things.

Until next Wednesday, I bid you a fantastic weekend, take care, and as always, happy reading.

Keeping active with possible job, writing, and Traci

Greetings, readers. As I continue my search for gainful employment, I’m still hoping that my first choice will pan out. As I mentioned, there are other opportunities out there, but Panera Bread is ideal. I would love to work there. It is near my apartment building, I know and like all the folks who work there, and it is, as I call it, on the flat. Meaning that I don’t have to go down any of the hilly streets of State College during the winter time.

If all else fails, I will volunteer my time at the library, which will at least get me out of the apartment. As my friends have told me, something is sure to come up. Until then, we have the writing project for the new camp book and I have a personal writing project that I just got research materials for from the library.

Also, big news, September 24th will mark the one year anniversary for my girlfriend Traci and me. I can’t believe it has been 11 months. Time has flown and our relationship is progressing slowly, yet steadily. I’m quite pleased with the situation. She has already met and loves David and family, and we hope to go for Thanksgiving again this year. Are wedding bells in the future? Time will tell and we shall see. There are a few huddles we need to get over.

A blog entry, which will be upcoming in September, will deal with my plans for our anniversary. There is a really nice restaurant downtown which we were planning to go to last Valentine’s Day. Traci wound up in the hospital and we never did make it for Valentine’s dinner. I think I will make reservations at the Tavern restaurant. More on that during that future blog entry.

Well, there you have it for today. Our new work hours begin next Wednesday with blog entries on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Wish us luck on that. Until next week, have a splendid weekend, take care, and happy reading.

My short story writing plans for tomorrow

Greetings, readers. With my creative juices flowing, I’m going to write the first draft of tomorrow’s top ten list either tonight or early tomorrow morning. This will leave Rebecca and me more time to work on my new writing exercise. I have decided to prime the pump, as Rebecca would say, and dictate to her very short stories.

The inspiration for this happened by chance. While listening to my Spotify music provider, I discovered that along with many different types of music, there is also a spoken word category. There I found everything from novels to the shortest of short stories. After listening to a couple of short stories read aloud, I dreamt what it would feel like to have one of my short stories read by these wonderful voices. So tomorrow I’m going to have three or four general topics written down on a piece of paper. For instance, the day at the beach, or a romantic interlude at a cabin. I’m just going to begin dictating from a good starting point, work the story, bring it to a climax, and have a cheerful conclusion. At least, we’ll be writing again.

Yes, I do call the blog entries writing, but I want to get my brain more engaged and have some works which at some point could be compiled in a book.

I talked to Rebecca about this briefly yesterday and I think she likes the idea. So please readers, wish us luck.

Until tomorrow, have a great day, be careful in the snow, take care and happy reading.

My day today and plans for the week

Greetings, readers. Right before today’s weekly meeting with my accountant, I realized that I had forgotten my keys at Panera Cafe. I was in luck in two ways. First, Rebecca has a key to my apartment for when I am in Maine, and second, Panera is right across the street. I was able to retrieve the keys in time for my meeting.

It is a good thing I retrieved my keys because there was plenty of mail to go over. After all the bills were paid, and other tasks finished, it was time to come up to the office and get to work. Rebecca and I always begin our work week reviewing last week’s blog statistics. Numbers have been holding steady and the entry about the Air Crash Investigation series continues to be the most popular entry of all.

On a weather front, no pun intended, I could see from my top floor window a horrific thunderstorm yesterday; complete with thunder, lightening, dark clouds and rain that was blown literally sideways. The one thing it did manage to do was knock the humidity way down. Yesterday evening and today have been sunny and much more comfortable.

After a coffee date this afternoon, I have an open evening where I plan to do some writing. I am keeping my new project tightly under wraps, because I am on page one. I’m not going to get overly excited about it just yet, but still it feels good to be creative again. I have made a decision and it is this: If I have another unproductive year [measured from camp time to camp time] I’m going to close down the writing career and cut bait.

As far as the rest of the week goes, I do plan to go to the Thursday night church dinner. It will be a nice follow up to last evening, when I had a delicious bowl of spaghetti at Denny’s. I am trying to improve my diet. It is becoming a top priority. My health is starting to suffer; I’ve dropped weight. Some people eat when they are depressed; when I am depressed I eat all the wrong things.

On Friday it will be a regular work day and also a free evening. By Saturday’s gaming day, I hope to have between five to eight pages on my new project done. If that doesn’t sound like a lot, this is only the second or third time I have tried to write a novel. Wish me luck on this project, I’m going to need it.

If you are in an area of good weather today, enjoy it. Take care, stay safe, and happy reading.

Top ten list is a work in progress

Greetings, readers. As my title implies, my top ten list for today is not ready. I do apologize for this. I was very busy during my personal days and thought I could get this together for today. Then Rebecca and I sat down and saw how research intensive this was going to be. That threw a monkey wrench into things. We will keep working on the top ten list for you and get it up either Friday or next Wednesday.

Even though I didn’t get as much stuff done in my apartment as I might have liked, I am calling my personal week a total success. I accomplished almost everything I set out to do. I say almost because yesterday I wasn’t feeling up to par, and three days ago my computer was acting very wonky, so I couldn’t work on my notes and start writing.

I’ve given myself a goal to work toward. That goal is to find the time each day to write at least three pages. I’ve given myself the luxury of allowing those writing times to be different on any given day. For instance, Saturday will be in the morning because after gaming in the afternoon I would be too tired. Something tells me my two hot times to write will be about eight in the morning and seven in the evening. During my week off I thought of two story lines and made character sheets for both. It was time well spent. Though no actual pages of dialog or prose were written, I feel at least like I know where I am going now. I’m not going to spoil it for everybody, but it is going to be a paranormal project.

Shifting to another topic, I had a very sombre and melancholy Mother’s Day as I visited Mom and Godmother’s graves at the cemetery. I must say, I was very pleased with the wonderful weather that we had. Many folks were out visiting their family members.

Lastly, our little taste of summer is over and the temperatures are back down to normal. The high today will only be in the lower 60s. I actually feel a little more refreshed.  As I said before, that first taste of hot weather, though I love it, makes me drag.

Until Friday, take care, have a great day, and happy reading.

I’m trying a new writing method

Greetings, readers. For most of my writing career, I must admit I type by the seat of my pants. I’ll turn on my computer or open up the tablet of paper and write down the first thing that comes to mind. Obviously I make it a good starting point. After I have those paragraphs written, I say to myself, “Okay, what next?” You’ve now just read my equation for all of my miserable fails. Without purpose and direction, my projects never seem to get completed.

Here’s my solution, thanks to Rebecca. She told me that I should write a detailed outline for my web-series script project. Detail it point by point, so not only can I see where I am but also where I am going, and I can check off each part after it is completed. Not a bad idea. After the blog today, with what time we have left, we are going to brainstorm ideas for the project.

I know I always have problems when I write, so I’ll call this an issue. The issue I’m having is that everything has been done in the world of Star Trek. Planets have exploded, ships have disappeared, and colonist have wound up dead upon Captain Kirk’s arrival. We must come up with an idea that is fresh, or at the very least an old idea with a new twist.

I’m doing this project so that I can finish it and then see if one of two Star Trek based web-series’ will take it. I know all the old school characters by heart, and although I won’t call the project easy, it sure will be lots of fun.

I don’t really have a time frame for this, because I have a couple of other things on my plate as well, such as next month’s performance. I have a feeling that when I really dive into this project, everything else is going to go to hell and I will immerse myself in the world of Star Trek.

If this project works, I might contact somebody to do a Next Generation or even Voyager script, if there is a fan-based production of either one of those.

Until next Wednesday, stay warm, take care, live long and prosper, and happy reading.

What is new in Joe’s world

Greetings, readers. I have a few things to discuss today. None of overwhelming importance, but I did want to put up the usual Wednesday post. Last night my buddy and I were discussing the National Football League’s Washington Redskins team, and the ever-increasing pressure to change the team name. I’m going to be putting a separate blog post up later this week or the next about sports franchises whose team names deal with Native Americans. I’m going to wait a few days so that I can do adequate research. But unlike Obama vs. Romney, this blog entry will come out.

So, let’s see. What’s on my mind. Apparently we still have no government to speak of. Republicans fighting with Democrats and vise versa. Who gets kicked in the teeth you ask? We do, that’s who. The American public. I say it is time for a bona fide strong third party. It would wake up the status quo and shake it to its core. If I had the money and experience I would start it myself.

This past Saturday night one of the most exciting Penn State football games in recent years took place, as the Nittany Lions upset the Michigan Wolverines. It was our homecoming game, and in recent years our luck at winning homecoming games has not been that stellar. I got home just in time to watch three of the four overtime periods. That game is sure to be an ESPN instant classic.

Darling kitty cat Keekee is sitting next to us as we are typing, saying Feed Me Now, Daddy. Yes, Keekee has me very well-trained. We get to work and it is d-i-n-n-e-r time. I suppose that was my fault, because a number of weeks back, I tried to train her to wait until a certain time of day for her moist food. I think I am going to re-train her to wait until the end of the day, or at the very least not during work hours.

With last week’s more-hectic-than-usual week out of the way, I can once again get down to my normal routine. I’ll be taking a look at a friend of mine’s work later this afternoon, and if I understand him correctly, he wants me to edit it. As long as the work isn’t too technical, I might be up to the task. However, around 5:00, I must get along with my own note-taking for the upcoming writing project.

Lastly, I met up with an old friend of mine at Panera. It was good to get caught up. We sat at Panera for a couple of hours rehashing old times and finding out what was news. She was showing me her new tablet complete with touchscreen, and boy was that a sharp-looking machine. She took such pride in showing me the drawings she had done. My friend Becky is an amazing artist.

Well, I’m off to feed Keekee now. I swear this cat understands English. Until soonest, take care, have a good day and happy reading.