A Post Five Decades in the Making

© packo michael | Dreamstime Stock Photos
I turn 50 tomorrow.

The rational part of me realizes any birthday is simply an arbitrary and entirely artificial milestone that has no relevance beyond the realm of cheesy birthday cards. My fiftieth birthday? It's just a number. I'll be no different tomorrow than I am today, on any meaningful level.

The irrational part of me (roughly 89% of my makeup) is running in panicked circles screaming bloody murder because I may no longer count myself among the young.

Sadly, I resemble both images.
Face it, man, when you start getting those AARP membership forms every couple of weeks, the needle on your YOUTHFUL TIME REMAINING METER just fell into the red, hit the zero, spat gears, and started smoking.

Too, I'm attracting a lot of interest from buzzards lately. I get the feeling they're eyeing me with regards to how much oregano they need to have handy.

© Odm | Dreamstime Stock Photos
So what do weigh? 190? 200? Just asking, no reason...

Of course there are upsides to growing older. Really, there are. I'll list them all below:
  • Yep. Ought to be something written here.
  • Here too.
  • This is a lot harder than it looks.
  • I give up.
Now, if anyone wants to give me a birthday present, go to Amazon and review one of my books if you haven't already. Especially Brown River Queen. That would be so awesome of you I'd start rocking faster in my squeaky old rocking chair.

Grim reminders of impending mortality aside, I do have one bit of news for Markhat fans. Drumroll and fireworks please:

The first draft of the new Markhat novel, currently entitled THE FIVE FACES, is finished!

Finished. Done. Complete. Yes, it's only a first draft, but it is done.

The village mob seems pleased.

Now, if anyone believes that a completed first draft is subjected to a cursory spell-check and then shipped straight to the printer, I have bad news. Because that's not at all how the process works. 

This first draft, beloved though it is, is flawed. Deeply flawed. It's full of typos and poorly-chosen words and scenes that don't work and plot holes I can nearly shove my old-man electric mobility scooter through. 

My work on it is far from done.  

I'll start by doing a cold read, beginning to end, making notes as I go. Then I'll address plot holes and big issues. Once that's done, I start again, this time looking for scenes that don't work. Again, to check dialog. 

Then again with spelling and word choice.  

By this time, I'll be so sick of the book I'll need to pass it off to my fearless beta reader Kellie, who will wade into the fray and no doubt laugh at my authorial shortcomings.

Only after that will the completed manuscript get anywhere near an editor, because A) I'd rather publishing industry professionals not realize the true depth of my incompetence and B) See A.

But, even with all the work that goes into editing and revising, completing that first draft is all-important. Without the first draft, without all its warts and faults, there can never be a final book.

So, as I look back on a half-century of life, I can at least say I wrote a few books. I hope people have enjoyed them. 

Well, I'm off to start the edits. Here's to another fifty years of avoiding prosecution!

Cheers, all. Have a good week!