Monday, April 5, 2010

Progress, Disney, and Dad


So close I can almost feel it now. I am on chapter 21 of 29 of my final read-through of Eternal Knight. It scares the hell out of me that I just read one of my favorite chapters and loved it. What's scary about that? If it turns out that nobody else likes it, well... it makes me out to be a deluded idiot. And who wants to be a deluded idiot?

Progress has been excellent over the past week, this despite the fact that we just got back from Walt Disney World. So now, a brief commentary on Walt Disney World:


1) Disney is an amazing organization. The employees were incredibly helpful and friendly. The whole park is clean and runs like clockwork. They picked us up from the airport and took great care of us up to the very moment they returned us to the airport.

2) We stayed on the resort (Port Orleans) and used their dining plan. The dining plan, combined with a $500 gift card (a free upgrade to our package) meant that we only spent $40 cash above the actual package cost. If you go, get on the dining plan, it will save you a ton of money. And make reservations well before you go. Once you get there you will have a very hard time getting meal reservations at their (excellent) sit-down restaurants.

3) Use the Fast-Pass system. It lets you cut to the front of the line for the really popular rides. My strategy: get to the park as soon as it opens, get a Fast Pass for the most popular ride in the park, ride your #2 and #3 choice rides, and then use your Fast Pass. Then, if you are there during Spring Break, be prepared to wait forever for another ride. Or, go back to the resort and swim and do other activities. After dinner, go back to one of the parks. By the way, we'll never go back during Spring Break-- it was mobbed. The crowds were the only downside of the experience.

4) I think you're best off waiting until your youngest child is five or six before you go. I don't think you can get the full experience before then. And toting around a grumpy kid at a theme park is just no fun. Amelia just turned six, and she had a great time. You also need to be 44 inches tall to get on the decent rides.

5) Must do activities.... The Himalaya roller-coaster at Animal Kingdom was great. The Safari ride was also very good. We didn't get a chance to see the shows there, but I heard they are good. Animal Kingdom was MOBBED. The Stunt Show, Indiana Jones Show, and Jedi Training were all great Hollywood Studios events. The auto Stunt Show was truly amazing.

One of the best parts of the trip was the chance to visit with our friends the Brinsons and the Grodes. In a later blog post I'll write about my adventures in the World of Warcraft. The best thing to come out of that year of gaming was my friendship with Kemp and Melissa and Bob and Lori. All are Orlando area residents and came out to the park to see us. Bob and Lori brought their kids and spent the day at Magic Kingdom with us. Kemp and Melissa brought their daughter and met us for dinner. Two years ago (the last time we were in Florida) my wife was incredulous that I was taking us to meet my World of Warcraft friends. She was certain they would kill us and that our bodies would never be discovered. They turned out to be some of the nicest people IN THE ENTIRE WORLD.

I haven't played WoW in over a year, and they were still happy to spend the day with us. Bob and I keep in touch with occasional phone calls. Kemp has become a valuable Eternal Knight editor. These are good folks!


My dad and his wife also happen to be in Florida on vacation right now. Debbie told me that my dad has been out twice to hit some golf balls. The last time he hit golf balls was over two years ago. Why the lapse? A terrible battle with cancer. The rare (and aggressive) cancer was in his nasal passage, pressing up against his brain. The radiation and chemo beat the hell out of him. The surgery (which intruded into his brain) was equally traumatic. The recovery has been riddled with complications.

So to hear that he has the strength to hit even a small bucket of balls at a driving range is wonderful news. I look forward to when I can play a round of golf with him again.


  1. I totally get what you mean about being a deluded idiot. But remember: rejections from agents and editors don't mean nobody likes it. It just means they didn't LOVE it and/or didn't think it was marketable (and sometimes they are wrong about the latter).

    Good advice about going to Disneyland with kids. I'll keep that in mind before our first post-kid visit!

  2. Thanks for the Disney World summary. We're hoping to go in the next year or so.

    If you love your novel/chapter, someone else will as well. Use those "I love this story" moments to motivate you to keep going through bad critiques, rejections, reviews.

    I've recently come to accept that my first novel needs work. If it wasn't for those favorite scenes or chapters that I still love to read, I would be tempted to throw in the towel (or at least throw that particular story in the bin).

    My husband and his closest friend met in an MMO. All sorts of ways you can connect with people. :-)

  3. Feywriter,

    I have a completed sci-fi novel sitting in a box in a drawer in my office. Like your first novel, I'm not completely giving it up. It is a good story and has some great scenes. I just needed to mature as a writer. Someday I'll get back to it.

  4. I want to clarify about my hesitation on spending time with the Warcraft people -- these were people that Matt had only spoken to over a headset playing video games and we had never ever met them before -- and Matt wanted to spend the night at their house. Everyone else that I spoke to felt the same way as I did. I do want to mention that the Grodes & Brinsons are the NICEST people ever!!! So, I was wrong, but I wasn't crazy.

  5. Amelia is so cute! You should post more pictures of her.

  6. So I just finished reading your first chapter and I must tell you that my heart is pounding. I couldn't take my eyes off the page. You have done a great job at capturing my attention with just the first chapter. Having read this, I just feel that I need to read more and must have your book. It is not easy for a book to make me feel this way and you have done so with a few paragraphs. To me that says a lot about an author. Just for this, I respect you and will most definitely be a follower of your progress and actual finalization of your books/series. Amazing job writing this.

  7. Hector, thanks for the great comments! You don't happen to know any good agents....

  8. Give me a few years until the kids are older and I'll dig up your list of tips!

  9. I'm sorry to hear how bad the crowds were, but Disney World is a total tourist trap this time of year. If you can get time off in February, that's the best time to go - no lines and the weather's still really nice.