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Embarrassment of Riches, Part II

May 29, 2010 Author: Anthony Pacheco Category: The Craft  10 Comments

Help a brother out, will you?

I am about to hunker down and Get’er Done on a new novel. I have ideas for twenty of those suckers, and, and, and

Which one do I pursue? Right now, I haven’t the foggiest. I’m not one of the writers who sit there, looking at the blinking cursor and go all mind-blank. Which little darling do I give my attention? They all call to me. I’ve bullied my ideas and cried and drank, and narrowed the field to four:

The Baby Dancers

I started this novel and I would love to finish it. I got distracted with a different novel in a different genre. Now, having purged that from my system, this book awaits.

The Baby Dancers is a YA Fantasy about two brothers embarking on a quest in a strange world to rescue their baby cousin from the powerful wizard who stole her. As they become familiar with the new world they find themselves in, they realize they may be fighting on the wrong side of an ancient war.


I’ve thoroughly outlined this adult fantasy novel. It’s a hero quest. A mighty warrior, who derives her power from song, sings a love song at dawn at a lake, a lake she did not know was magical. The song awakens a dragon while the run-away magical energies sweep the warrior away to places unknown.

Now the dragon, which can shape change into a woman with fiery red hair at will, takes up the quest to find the warrior who sang to her. She travels with the warrior’s companions, alternately trying to figure out who she is, other than being a fearsome dragon, and why the love song the warrior sang haunts her dreams.

Mutant Alien Zombie Killing Cheerleaders from Utah

I kid you not, that’s the title! This fun, but dark, little romp centers on four teen girls who, on their way home from an away football game, witness multiple meteor strikes in the woods near their town. The meteors glow a strange red, except for one, which glows an eerie green.

They approach the green meteor, and it turns out not to be a meteor, but some type of automated technology. The robot seizes them and injects them with a strange substance, which gives them several abilities, and makes them immune to the Zombie Plague. This is a good thing, since the red meteors spread the Zombie Plague.

Being immune, while everyone else is not, makes for a terrible time for our heroines, as they face the trials and tribulations of a zombie apocalypse without knowing what to do to stop it.

Death by Decades

This grim mystery centers on a man who learns something very strange is going on when someone tries to kill him on his twentieth birthday. The man who tries to kill him looks exactly like the man who tried to kill him when he was ten. As his thirtieth birthday approaches, he learns that a man fitting the same description of the bad guy from the prior two murder attempts tried to break into the maternity ward when he was born.

Now the man is married, and his wife, a cop and certainly no mouse, doesn’t believe him. Our hero embarks on his quest to find answers. With his marriage on the rocks and his sanity being questioned, can he find the answers to this decade assassin and stop him once and for all?

Well, there you have the four book projects clamoring for my attention. The concept of “finishing what you started” somewhat eats at me to complete The Baby Dancers. But, as someone pointed out several years ago, the manuscript is not going anywhere, so I should write to what calls to me.

This is my problem. They all do! Dragonsong is an epic hero quest and the characterization is very strong, and I love the story. Love it a lot. One of the main characters is the person I refer to in this post.

Mutant Alien Zombie Killing Cheerleaders from Utah is a dark romp of pure firearm goodness, with snappy dialog and mountains of relentless conflict. It’s a cross between Left for Dead and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Death by Decades is a dip in the noir pool, and interests me because it is so very dark, and would be quite the writing challenge.

So, help a brother out. What sounds good to you? Obviously, I am attracted to multiple genres. This does not help me. It’s an embarrassment of riches. I feel surrounded by four lovers, each beautiful and enticing in her own way, but the jig is up and they are making me pick amongst them.

Comment below!

The Heart of a Warrior Never Lies

May 28, 2010 Author: Anthony Pacheco Category: Anthonyisms, Characterization, The Craft  7 Comments

The heart of a warrior never lies. It is a thing of purity, a deadly beauty more real than a thousand, thousand truths. The warrior, in her singular moment of honesty, is both everything and nothing. She is everything because she has broken down an entire conflict to a singular twinkling of violence.

She is nothing because she simply becomes an agent of choice. There is no right. There is no wrong. There is only choice, and her heart chooses for her. In the space between rational thought and instinct, between the familiar and the new, between skill and tenacity, lies the event horizon of truth.

This warrior hears her heart. The beating is more than life-blood; it is the affirmation of the gestalt of life. She listens to her heart not because she has to, but because it is all she can do. All that she is.

At this moment, this warrior is the most deadly. At this moment, nothing can match her.

At this moment, she is a goddess. All the other moments are nothing. She knows this to be true, because the heart of a warrior, a true warrior, never lies.

The Tale of Two Shorts

May 27, 2010 Author: Anthony Pacheco Category: The Craft, The Wife Unit  4 Comments

Short #1: Despite ending and starting a new contract (one which keeps me busy, busy, busy), I finished my short I’ve referenced in this post.

It took me two rewrites to get it to a point where I was happy. During the last, the story took on a bleak tone despite the Hero Protagonist being an upbeat, happy-go-lucky guy. Poor Arune. I actually feel bad.

Short stories do not come easily for me, but I can see their value as a way to improve my novel-writing. Hitting a limitation of 7,500 words really threw me for a loop and I agonized for hours over what to cut and what to leave. It’s much easier making a 110k novel a 100k novel than it is to make a 10k short a 7.5k short.

But I did it.

Now for those of you volunteering to read it and wondering what it isn’t in your mailbox, I want The Wife Unit to read it first. Mainly because she proofreads, mainly because, well, she’s The Wife Unit. There are some perks, yanno.

So expect it in yer box, soon. Thank you for your patience.

Short #2: I actually turned in another short, to a brand-spanky-new publication, and had a great conversation with the new editor. The short is an except from my novel Bunny Noir, but it stands alone as far as a short story.

The fun thing, though, before I submitted it, I took this chapter and made it dark. Dark and twisted. It was already a bit gloomy, but I felt compelled to bump it up a notch, and the result, I do believe, is delicious. If it passes muster, I can’t wait to see it in print. Who can resist Lesbian Alien Libertarian Gun Nut Fiction?

Man I love writing, love it a lot. Even when I was pulling my hair out, the end result was worth it.


May 25, 2010 Author: Anthony Pacheco Category: Not Exactly Random  0 Comments

At 5:20 AM I was awoken by an earthquake.

Since moving to the Pacific Northwest, I’ve been in many earthquakes. I have the dubious honor of falling down on the garage stairs during the Nisqually earthquake and bruising my wrist.

This small earthquake, however, was totally different than anything I have felt before. I could feel and hear the shock-wave approach. It was something like this:

(rattle) rattle –  Rattle –  RATTLE – BANG – RATTLE – Rattle – rattle (rattle)

The shock-wave moved very fast. Super fast. Faster than anything I have ever experienced.

I’ve come to the conclusion, I don’t like earthquakes.

The Hack Writer Presents: Banana Bread Fueled Political Dreams

May 23, 2010 Author: Anthony Pacheco Category: Not Exactly Random  0 Comments


So there I was dreaming last night after eating too much banana bread, see? I was at some office in a strip mall, and this woman handed me an invitation to the White House 2010 Christmas Party. I was like sweet, but then she was like “it’s a conditional invitation” and I was like

“Wait… what?”

“For the invitation to be valid, you have to take sensitivity training.”

“Oh, come on! I know I’m not a Democrat, but that’s…”

The woman interrupted me through her grin. “Nobody cares about that. No, this is because of your potty mouth. There are kids present at the first half of the party

and I was like WAT and she laughed then I was like doooooooh but took the invitation anyway and then

the dream morphs into a shopping trip to Home Depot with one of my female coworkers, trying to find some type of wipe that would remove permanent marker from a washer and dryer but she was wearing a poodle skirt but I think she forgot to put on a bra and then I was going to ask her if she forgot to wear panties too but then I remembered I needed to be sensitive for the children at the 2010 White House Christmas party so I didn’t say anything and then the cat woke me up.

Goals: Self-Defense

May 18, 2010 Author: Anthony Pacheco Category: Anthonyisms, Not Exactly Random  0 Comments

The singular goal for self-defense is to articulate to the felon that he has made a catastrophic error in the victim selection process, and then simply show him what you mean.

Plan accordingly. Sometimes you’ll need to show before you tell, but that’s his problem.

Ye ‘Ole Writing Check-in

May 13, 2010 Author: Anthony Pacheco Category: The Craft  0 Comments

My contract with one of my clients ends tomorrow, so I’m buried under a mound of work. MOUND I SAY.

In other news, I’m done with my short. The beginning is good. The middle is great in a “can’t believe I wrote such a heart-wrenching dark icky thing.” The ending sucks rocks. So, in between work and sleep and kids and wife and dog, I’m trying to edit that sucker. Dark icky thing, by the way, is a technical term.

Meanwhile, The Baby Dancers, my YA in progress, is calling my name. There is only so long I can ignore the goblin ninjas.

Goblin ninjas on fire.

I giggle every time I type that. Yes I do.