North Carolina and Other Updates

Time flies. Here it is 2019, and I haven’t posted anything. I’m sure you’re aghast, clearly unable to continue life and productive endeavours until I update my blog. Well, rest easy, Somewhat-Infrequent Reader. I got you covered.

And to First-Time Readers, this is how it usually works around here. The blog is fairly low on the priority list and thus is only updated when (A) There’s big news; (B) I get a twinge of nerdy excitement about esoteric topics; or (C) I’m overcome by the urge to overshare online. In this case, it’s option C. 

Year In Review

2018 was a busy and uncertain year in the Mowder household. Ultimately it ended on a high note, with us moving to Charlotte, N.C. from the Midwest. (I’ll always be a Kansan at heart though. Royals, Jayhawks, and Chiefs for life!) After having lived here for all of a month, I can say confidently that Charlotte is a lovely city. Way more traffic than I’m used to (I grew up in a town of 900 people) but the folks here are friendly and don’t even honk that loudly when I miss my exit and have to cut them off.

More on Charlotte as these breaking news events develop, such as the location of the best Chinese buffet (actively soliciting suggestions on that one).

My wife has a wonderful new corporate job, and so far it appears to be all Sunshine & Rainbows, rather than TPS Reports and The Bobs. Good for her. I’m still a full-time dad, and today I wore my Jayhawks shirt while my two-year-old daughter and I hooped some roundball on a Blue Devils court. (My job is better than my wife’s. By far.) Usually, my daughter’s naptimes and the evenings after she goes to bed are spent working on fiction, but lately there’s been a lot more time spent on househunting (we’re just renting at the moment), or looking for new doctors and providers, or researching preschools, or the like. All the usual tasks that accompany starting over in a brand new city.

(If you’re interested in more about my life as a Stay-At-Home Dad, check out this post from summer 2017.)

Looking ahead, I can confidently say that 2019 will be a great year. I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions, but if I did, these would be on the list:

  • Finish draft 4 of The Novel and get it ready to be agented. (More on this in a bit.)
  • Publish three short stories, at least one professionally.
  • Spend too much time at the movie theater. (Captain Marvel, Avengers: Endgame, Spider-Man: Far From Home, Star Wars Episode IX, The Joker, The Lion King, Aladdin, Toy Story 4, seriously it’s ridiculous.)
  • Read 15 books. (I average about 12 a year – unless they’re hefty Under-the-Dome-ish titles — but I’d always like to do more.)

“The Novel”

I realized in preparing this post, I haven’t explicitly talked about novel-writing on this blog yet. Everything has focused on my short fiction. Here’s a quick primer.

I’ve written three prior complete novels, all of them Trunk Novels. That’s fine; I know most novelists don’t publish the first, or second, or sometimes even third book they write. (I heard on the Writing Excuses podcast that Brandon Sanderson wrote something like 7 or 9 trunk novels before he broke through, and now he’s prolific-bordering-unreal.) My first ever completed manuscript made the quarterfinals of the now-defunct Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, out of 5,000 entries, which is the sort of Beginner’s Luck I hope every new writer can experience. (Then Publisher’s Weekly, who reviewed all the quarterfinalists, called me “verbose” and said I “lacked thematic coherence,” which is a bucket of cold water I definitely don’t wish on new writers.)

Point being, none of my previous manuscripts were publishable, though I think they all have merit and I hope to revisit them at some point in my career as a writer. They’re fun stories, and I had fun writing them.

Fast forward to today. I have a current work-in-progress and it feels … different. Special. It’s in Draft 4 at the moment (of probably 5 or 6 before I would consider submitting to agents) and the First Readers who saw it last summer were very positive. It’s much too early to make predictions like “This is THE ONE” but even if it doesn’t see a bookstore shelf, this will be one I can look back and say, “I’m really proud of that.”

More to come, but unfortunately not soon. Writing a book is a long process (at least it is for me), and I’m sure if I were lucky enough to sell it, publishing a book is an even longer process still. I’ll update as I can here, but time spent blogging is time not spent writing.

And as I’ve done quite enough Not Writing for one evening, I’ll close here. Thanks to everyone who reads this blog! If you have questions, comments, or words of wisdom, leave a comment or use the Contact page. I always love hearing from you!

Happy 2019,

CDM

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