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Archive for May, 2011

Cutting – Week 2

Had a productive Memorial Day weekend – lots of yard work, some landscaping, and time spent terrorizing my kids both with water and on the trampoline. Sure they think it’s fun now but some day they’ll need therapy! And all of it while sweating like Frosty the snowman at a mid-July carnival without a snow cone booth. Northeastern Ohio seems to hover around 95% humidity or more at all times.

Tonight at the gym saw an improvement in my energy systems. It might not have looked like it, but I recovered faster after getting home and was able to spend less time resting between sets. I hit better numbers on my reps as well this time around. No coincidence that my back is feeling a bit better I’m sure.

But anyhow, about 10 days into my cut I’m down 10.5 pounds. Lots of that is water weight but I’m also seeing an improvement in the mirror. Calipers told me I was at 12.7% body fat half a week ago, I’ll try to remember to check ‘em again in the morning.

The secret? Eating less and eliminating carbs. I’m not going as balls out on carb removal as my wife is. Perhaps I should but I’m afraid of losing muscle mass as well as fat, instead I’m trying to burn the fat off with exercise rather than going catabolic due to caloric restriction.

Ironically a fellow powerlifter in Europe recently made a post stating, “Powerlifters don’t diet!” I enjoyed the sentiment and made sure I complimented her on it. She’s a solid but small girl but proportionally speaking has some very impressive measurements. And by measurements I mean lifts! Then again most athletic people seem small to me these days. 10.5 pounds down and I’m still tipping the scales at a hair over 230!

Categories: Weight Lifting

Back to the Gym!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a workout related blog so here’s what I’m doing these days. It started out with me spending a month or so bulking up to 241 lbs. That’s a funny weight to me. I was talking to a guy at my day job and he mentioned his brother being 6’2″ tall and 235 pounds. I thought, “Wow, big guy.” Then I realized something. “Wait a minute,” says I to myself.

“Yeah, self, we’re 6’1″ and 241lbs. We’re not that big!” Self said back to me.

A day or so later I was talking to a guy on the shop floor and he looked like a gymrat himself. I asked him what gym he went to and he laughed, saying it was just from lifting seats and doing yard work. He followed it up with telling me all the guys he talks to out there agree that I’m the biggest cat in the shop and I’m in the front office! Shocked the hell out of me. I suffer from little-man syndrome. Not sure I’ll ever think of myself as big enough.

So, to confuse this further after peaking at 241 I noticed the shadows of my abs had disappeared. Creeping up around 13% – 14% bodyfat, bad news. My wife hit a plateau herself and is anxious to get rid of a few extra carb induced pounds (yeah, I know, you can’t tell because she’s smoking hot regardless but chicks do this to themelves). I offered to go on a major cut with her to help out. And so this weekend it began. Caloric restriction and cutting back to about 20% or less of the calories coming in from carbs. Then there was the workout changes… and that’s where things get the most entertaining.

Monday night:
Leg press (8 reps @ 400lbs x 5 sets, about 30 – 45 seconds between each set)
Pull ups / chin ups (bodyweight only, 8 reps x 4 sets varying my grip with each set, about 45 – 60 seconds between sets)
Bench press (4 sets, 225 x 8, 225 x 6, 225 x 6, 225 x 4) supersetted with…
Bentover one arm dumbbell rows (4 sets, 75lbs x 8 reps each (for each arm))

The superset was what really kicked my ass. I had sweat running off my face and I was gasping for air like a fish out of water. Afterwards I came close to puking a few times and had to rest in a cool room at home for 30+ minutes before I could even stand up and feel human again.

Wednesday night:
Trap Bar Deadlifts (280 x 8, 370 x 8, 370 x 8, 370 x 8, 45 – 60 seconds between sets)
Declined Sit Ups (8 reps x 4 sets, 20 – 30 seconds rest between sets)
Inclined Dumbbell bench press (65 x 8, 65 x 8 – stopped because of some intense cramping in my previously torn left pec) supersetted with..
Bentover DB rows (both arms at once, 65 x 8, 65 x 8 )

Went home and felt nauseous and miserable for another 30 – 60 minutes. No threat of puking but I had to wait almost two hours until I could eat dinner.

The problem with being a powerlifter – each set is supposed to be done with optimal energy and strength. The cutting crap is kicking my ass. Proof I need to work more on my energy systems. Who knows, maybe I’ll build some muscle with this too since I never work out like this. My body doesn’t know what to do with it, it just knows it does NOT like it!

Categories: Uncategorized

The Art of Submission

That title sounds much naughtier than I intended it to. That’s okay though, I kind of like it. Rather than discussing something borderline inappropriate I’m referring to submitting pieces of writing. Since Novel Concept Publishing is starting to take off, we’ve seen a fair amount of submissions being sent our way. What we’re looking for initially is a query letter to interest us in the piece, followed by a sample of the manuscript. And that is where things generally go wrong.

Prior to this I was on the writing side of things. I wrote the stories and sent them out. I struggled vehemently to come up with interesting query letters and then sent out what I considered to be well edited samples of my own manuscripts. Looking back in time, I now have to wonder at my success. Granted, I was published and went out to publish several more (and continue to do so), but I know for a fact that my initial one was rife with problems.

The query letter, my friends and would-be applicants, is important in catching the publisher or agent’s eye. My own growing experience tells me that it does not need to be worthy of a Pulitzer. It does, however, need to be grammatically and typographically correct. Show me something that interests me, even if your story seems to come from a cookie cutter template, explain why that template worked for you and how you spun it into something groovy.

Then there’s the manuscript sample. We’re after a sample of the manuscript, enough to interest us. To date I’ve had a few that left me wanting. I’ve seen a few that were too abstract and a few that were filled with an alarming collection of grammatical / typographical mistakes. On the flip side, I’ve read a couple that were full of promise, yet still had some editorial snafus. The one that has impressed me the most so far ended the sample with a catchy hook that left me wanting more. Kudos to that author, I had to break down and ask for the full manuscript.

I say breakdown as though it’s a game or a challenge. It’s not really. I want good stories. I want to see some quality work that the author is proud to have written and I’ll be proud to have played a part in polishing and nudging it along the way.

I throw out a very special thanks to those who accepted my first few attempts at writing. I’m sure they were rough and in need of a lot of work, but I appreciate the willingness to look past the typos and failures of self-editing. I’ve since learned better ways to do things, even by myself, and I encourage those who are struggling to get those first few acceptance emails under their belts to keep trying. Print the documents you want to submit out and read them to yourself with a red pen in hand. Read it aloud even, so you know what it sounds like outside your head as well as inside. It’s amazing what a difference that can make.

And then, when you’re sure you’ve replaced all the ‘there’ with ‘their’ and the ‘to’ with ‘too’, or the ‘four’ with ‘for’ and ‘form’ with ‘from’, then send it in and we can get past the silly stuff and into whether or not you really do have a story people want to read.

Categories: Uncategorized

Smattering of stuff

The next Voidhawk novel, Voidhawk – Redemption is in cover art phase. It’s the third in my Voidhawk fantasy series and it focuses primarily on the life and activities of Rosh following the end of Voidhawk – The Elder Race.

Ice Princess, the sequel to Wanted, has had the rough draft and first edit completed! What remains is cover art and a final / line edit.

Elsewhere I’ve got three edited novels in the Dark Earth series ready to roll out, they only need cover art to be published and pushed out. The Lost Girls, Traitor, and Wolfgirl all taking place in the same time frame that Voices unfolds.

Categories: Uncategorized

NCP for the win!

What is NCP? So glad you asked! It’s the lazy man’s abbreviation for my new endeavor with my business partner, Jane Taylor. http://www.novelconceptpublishing.com is an ebook publishing company that we’ve launched. Isn’t the market saturated with these things? Our studies say it is not. And more importantly I will say it’s damn hard to find a decent ebook to read!

So what makes NCP different? It’s a publishing company focusing on writers because we are writers. Our goal is to retain as little as possible for the company and push the majority of the revenue to the people who did the work – the writers. We’ve got talented artists ready to assist with cover work and editors with experience to help refine the books into something truly special and marketable. Or, if the author has their own cover art that’s acceptable they get an extra cut of the take. How’s that for making a person the master of their own destiny?

So what about finding a decent book to read? I tried to find something last weekend and I was inundated with all the stuff out there I hadn’t ever heard of. Reviews and ratings were scarce and the descriptions of the books were either lacking or insufficient. In the end, I ran out of time and found nothing that appealed to me. My goal, therefore, is to make sure anything NCP puts out there has all of those things so that people can find out and be satisfied with what they find.

NCP has a Facebook fan page as well, check it out for latest updates. In the meantime we are open and accepting submissions. Check it out and feel free to let us know your thoughts!

Categories: Writing

On the Kindle

Five books available in the Kindle store for anyone who has a Kindle and just can’t wait to get them!

Dark Earth | http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004YR53SO
Voices | http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004YR4Z88
Sex Sells | http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004YQVLEU
Wanted | http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004YQVLBS
Human Nature | http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004YQGWJO
Voidhawk – The Elder Race | http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004YQGIWK

Categories: Writing

Let’s Be Clear On This…

Obama did not kill Osama Bin Laden… Gee, ya think? You mean he didn’t go through Navy SEAL training and personally squeeze off the rounds from a silenced MP5 that ended Osama Bin Laden’s life? What could he possible have been doing that was more important than that? He obviously explained to the world that it was by his hand that the terrorist was killed, after all.

Okay, that’s enough sarcasm. And yes, sarcasm in the extreme it was. I see on Facebook 25% or more of the people posting are putting this incredibly ignorant status up about Obama not killing him and how it was not an Obama victory but an American victory. After all, Obama was trying to keep our troops from getting paid, right? Wrong.

I have family and friends in the military. I used to be in the military. At no point were the people putting their lives in danger at risk of not being paid for it. That was explained clearly to them before the budget crisis came to a head. Naturally the media doesn’t want the public to know that – where’s the story in that?

Now let’s talk about victory. An American victory? Only in the sense that the CIA and the Navy SEALs were directly responsible for the actions that led to this victory. Victory, however, is a hollow term. More people are dead because of this ignorance and intentional misinformation. I’m referring to the doctrine of hatred followed by al Qaeda. It is a sad state of affairs in the world if the only way to prevent violence is through the use of violence. My mother was wrong, violence does solve problems, though it is never a good or preferable solution. For the record I am ecstatic that the threat he represented is gone – but I am fearful of the vacuum left behind and what might fill it.

So why the ballbusting on Obama? Obama focused the military and CIA on going after Bin Laden, hard to believe he should get any credit for that. But let’s put that aside. As an important disclaimer I want to point out that I did not vote for Obama. Do I think he’s doing a good job? Beats the hell out of me. I’m not qualified to know if he’s doing good or not. I’ll vehemently argue that less than 1% of the people who read this blog (either now or in the future) will be qualified to make that call. Is he doing everything he can to do the job to the best of his ability? Yes, absolutely. Even his staunchest opponents will agree that he’s trying as hard as he can.

So again, why cut the guy’s ankles off? It reminds me of the lack of support America showed for our troops in Vietnam and Korea. They did the best they could and were hamstrung by the system we allow to exist. Does that mean they don’t deserve our support? Fuck no! We’ve learned a shameful lesson from those days when our soldiers were spurned. Why should Obama be the subject of condescension by couch-critics for trying to do a job to the best of his beliefs and ability in spite of the obstacles put in his way by the very system we allow to exist? Or was putting Obama in office another mistake the American people have made and allowed to persist?

Food for thought. I don’t have the answers and I’m not qualified to offer expert opinions. An excellent opportunity for debate, even if virtually everyone I know is similarly unqualified in the area of running a country. I only ask that an attempt be made to limit the spreading of misinformation and ignorance.

Categories: Uncategorized
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