What Am I Doing?

Not that you asked, but I’ve been taking courses with the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program and am currently teaching English in Seoul. No, I haven’t abandoned my license to practice law—as usual, the legal career is in the backseat while writing drives (life-experiences called shotgun). Before leaving California to go to Korea, I made a few visits to Disneyland.

Disneyland - California Adventure

Okay, this is technically California Adventure, but I didn’t take any photos on the other side.

UCLA Extension

I’ve been taking the Novel Writing series of courses with UCLA Extension. I started with the on-campus class (going back to the old campus is always nice), but switched over to the online version when I decided to go to Korea. Overall, I think it’s been rather helpful.

In terms of craft, the lecture and workshops haven’t taught me anything “new.” I’d already learned much of it via the internet, the Southern California Writers’ Conference, and writing groups. However, the lecture material and workshops have helped me to hone my craft, solidify certain theories (so I can actually apply them more consistently), and develop my ability to read with a writer’s eye.

The instructors at UCLA Extension seem to echo the sentiment I’d read when researching MFA programs: you can’t really teach art, you can only facilitate the growth of artists. So, that’s how the classes have been going. The instructor and other students offer valuable insights and feedback but, for the most part, each writer needs to put in the work to further their own craft.

Teaching English in Korea

The process to get the job in Seoul was a long one. Securing documentation and flinging paperwork back and forth was a bit of a hassle. After months of that, I finally flew to Seoul and was subjected to a highly stressful week of training. The bottome line: if you fail the training, you’re sent back home. Honestly, I did not expect the training to be so taxing.

I’m glad to say, however, it’s been a considerable while since training and I’m feeling fairly comfortable here now. I’m more at ease in front of the classroom, have been referred to as Handsome Teacher a number of times (the girlfriend says this has been inflating my ego), and am slowly swapping out American fast food out of my diet in favor of kimchi jjigae. So, yeah, I’m getting settled and finally feel like I have the time to start posting here again. Hopefully, I’ll also get to write a lot more and have something to report on that end.

Take it easy, folks.

Namsan Seoul Tower

Namsan Tower (AKA Seoul Tower)

Happy Dyngus Day

happy dyngus day 2Like my crazy uncle used to say, there’s no better time than Dyngus Day to start posting again.

Dyngus Day is a Polish holiday celebrated on the Monday after Easter. I had no idea this holiday existed until a few days ago. If I recall my Wikipedia-research correctly, Dyngus Day is celebrated by boys throwing water at girls they like and proceeding to spank said girls with a pussy willow branch (girls do the same to the boys on Tuesday).  This sounds a lot like assault and battery to me, though, so you might want to consult a lawyer before you decide to become a Dyngus-participant.

Anyway, I’ve been pretty busy recently. Doing more attorney work, researching potential career paths, and spending time with the significant other and family—my schedule hasn’t been so packed since 2013. It’s been tough setting aside time for writing, and depending on where my career(s) take me, I might have to learn to better finagle my schedule to get some writing in (and more time to read other people’s blogs).

Despite being busy and whatnot, I’ve been slowly rewriting the horror/supernatural novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo 2015. I want to rewrite this entire supernatural project before I start another rewrite of my YA Sci-Fi (which may no longer be a YA by the time I’m done with it).

Wish me luck, and Happy Dyngus Day.

Don’t Worry (or Rejoice) Just Yet, I’m Still Here

letireddog

I’ve been distracted for a while, and I’ve been busy with non-writing work for the last two weeks. Though I haven’t been writing and posting as much as I’d like, I’m definitely not throwing in the towel yet.

Novel #1: Still working on polishing the first novel. After the last revision (which, as I may have stated elsewhere, was the final major revision until I get an agent or professional editor), I sent the manuscript out to beta readers: two re-readers and five new folks; all writers. Waiting to get feedback from at least half of them before I apply some changes and make a final Hail Mary pass for traditional publishing; if no one has the hands to catch the damn ball (perfect spiral and all), I’ll finally invest in going indie by hiring an editor.

Short Stories and Breadth of Style: Starting in June, I’ve been trying my hand at short stories and have churned out a bunch of crap and several pieces which I think are pretty darn decent. For some of these, I deviated from the PG-13-esque style of writing I use in Novel #1 in favor of something darker. This came about from a mix of influences, including but not limited to: On the Road which I’m rereading for the first time since college, bits of David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest, and the unfiltered language of the television show Californication (Hank Moody’s writing seems a bit on the purple side, so I’m trying not to pick up too much of that).

Other Novels: I should update the “My Novels” page. The so-called Urban Fantasy novel I was outlining has changed drastically, and the original intended title no longer makes sense. I’m about 6,000 words into the first draft (i.e., “zero draft” or “junk draft”) and I’m hoping this novel will be more of an obvious high concept work than Novel #1. The superhero project is on the back burner; and I’ve gotten several thousand words into a contemporary (non-genre) novel. Notably, none of these projects are YA (whereas Novel #1 is).

1st Anniversary Post: Top Posts and the State of the Novel

1stanniversaryimage

I set up camp on Wordpress a year ago to connect with other readers and writers, and establish some internet presence while I tried to get my novel published. As far as publishing goes, I totally failed, but I’ll get to that later. First, some fun blogging anniversary stuff—

The Best of A.D. Martin Posts:

Sex definitely sells—well, according to my post statistics, anyway.

Without looking too closely at all the facts, the posts which garnered the most clicks over the life of my blog—by quite a large margin—has been:

1. Two Seasons of Arrow, Seven Women for Oliver Queen; and

2. Cool-ish Actors, Annoying Characters

Pointlessly Shirtless Men of Arrow: Slade Wilson, Oliver Queen, John Diggle, and Roy Harper

Yeah, people click on these guys.

For the post about Arrow, the post seemed to have built considerable SEO which helped it to show up in Google results somewhat prominently (as I write this, if you search for “Oliver Queen” and “Women,” the post will be in the first page or two). I also noticed that not long after I made the post, someone awesome linked to it on the IMDb discussion board for the show. Thanks, anonymous person!

Aimee Teegarden

I should probably watch Teegarden’s newer stuff.

The SEO of the Arrow post aside, there is one thing these two posts have in common: attractive people. By coincidence (not by design; I wish I were that clever), the images displayed on my “Top Post & Pages” are of shirtless vigilantes and Aimee Teegarden, for the Arrow and “Cool-ish Actors” posts, respectively. I think it’s fairly safe to say that most people find Oliver Queen, Mr. Diggle and Ms. Teegarden pleasant to look upon and this seems to have played a part in giving these posts a higher view-count than my other posts.

Continue reading

One Lovely Blog Award: Chain Letter, Part 2

One Lovely Blog Award Tree and Heart Logos

Friends, Romans, country folk—I have received my second blogging award from Lydia and Anastasia who share the Cupcakes and Popcorn blog (thanks, ladies). Though I still think the chain letter-like setup is a bit odd, I figure I could use the extra traffic and followers that might result from playing along (follow me!).

The rules of the One Lovely Blog Award: 

  • You must thank the person who nominated you and include a link to their blog (this totally ruins my plan of not linking to their blog and, instead, just saying bad things about them behind their backs).
  • You must list the rules and display the award (there are two apparent logos/images for the award, which I found unnecessarily confusing, so I put them together as one .jpeg file).
  • You must add 7 facts about yourself (I will consider being truthful).
  • You must nominate 15 other bloggers and comment on one of their posts to let them know they’ve been nominated (yes, more victims—15 seems like a bit much, though).
  • You must display the award logo and follow the blogger who nominated you (how long do I have to follow them for?).

Seven supposed facts about A.D. Martin:

1. I am awesome.
2. If you take away my veil of awesomeness, you will only find more awesomeness underneath.
3. The bit above was inspired by Barney Stinson of How I Met Your Mother, but also inspired by my innate awesomeness.
4. I am about to start watching Once Upon a Time because another blogger (Ursula) suggested that I give it a try.
5. I think the Guardians of the Galaxy film is great and that it does very well bouncing back and forth between pathos and humor.
Six. I just spelled the number six phonetically to be annoying and to have an excuse not to provide any real information about myself.
7. I may or may not continue to participate in these types of awards in the future. Eh, I probably will. Continue reading

Liebster Award

Liebster Award Chain Letter

I received a chain letter (perhaps better known as a Liebster Award) from scorpionglow which prompted me to answer ten questions, and then pass on to five lucky people the pleasure of responding to ten of my questions.

Thanks, Lisa, this song‘s for you.

Now, my answers.

1. What is your favorite fruit?

Apples because they make delicious pie, juice, and alcohol.

2. Why have you chosen to blog?

I chose to blog so I could say bad things about people where I know no one would see it. Well, that, and to get my name as a writer out there.

3. What is your favorite genre in which to read?

Science fiction and fantasy covers a whole lot of stuff, but that’s what I’m sticking with. Of course, some of my favorite works of literature don’t involve sci-fi or fantasy (e.g., A Farewell to Arms, All Quiet on the Western Front).

4. What is your favorite social media platform?

I’m going to say WordPress so the WordPress people will be less likely to shut down my blog.

5. Hometown?

Minas Ithil before it was overrun by the forces of Mordor and they put up this frickin’ gate. Jerks.

The Black Gate

6. Are you drinking enough water each day? Continue reading