The Outsider: Blog

Still here

September 12, 2017
Posted at 3:57 am

Story #2 is still in development and nearing the end of the writing process. While I have a basic plan for the end of the story I want to make sure I don't shoot myself in the foot this close to the finish line. I'm guessing I have three more chapters to write and send to Graybyrd, then I'll have to give it a final look before formatting it to send to FS. Shouldn't be too much longer.

I doubt I'll ever be a prolific writer, at least not in the near term given how my schedule is these days, though I do have ideas for two other stories. We'll see if they make it past the idea stage.

Story #2 update

June 1, 2017
Posted at 11:45 am

Here it is nearing summer in the Northern Hemisphere once again. Hard to believe we're this far into 2017.

Writing story #2 continues to progress. I'm probably about halfway to where I want to be on the story's timeline, though I'm not sure if that halfway matches the number of chapters to be written. After revising my first drafts up to Chapter 8, I hit a bit of a dry spell where my motivation flagged. I'm in a better groove now and am moving right along.

My initial thought that I'd be posting the story by the summertime now seems a little optimistic. My family and I have a vacation coming up which will affect how much writing I get to do, and I'm sure Graybyrd has plans for the summer also. He's continued to be a sounding board for my vision for where I'd like to have this story go, so I think I've got a good handle on its destination; it's just getting it there that will take time again.

I won't keep announcing hoped-for target dates, that just strikes me as somewhat cruel if (when) I don't meet them. The only thing I'll do is post general progress updates occasionally until I put the story in the queue.

Here's to them, and those like them...

May 29, 2017
Posted at 12:00 pm

Originally decreed as Decoration Day in 1868, today is Memorial Day in the United States. Today is the day when our country remembers the men and women who gave their lives to establish and defend this nation. This is our Remembrance Day.

In preparation for this weekend, which marks the unofficial start of summer here, cemeteries put "flags in;" each veteran's resting place was marked with a small, new American flag. On Boston Common, 37,252 American flags represent every fallen native son or daughter of the Commonwealth. Cities and towns around the country do the same for theirs.

May we always remember their sacrifice.

Everyone Goes Home

March 21, 2017
Posted at 12:41 pm
Updated: March 21, 2017 - 4:20 pm

It's a refrain often heard in public safety circles, more often among the law enforcement community but we all say it: "At the end of the shift, everyone goes home." You try very hard to make sure this always happens, but there are days when, despite your best efforts, it doesn't. At the end of last week - on 16 and 17 March 2017 - two rival cities suffered heartbreaking line of duty deaths.

On Friday morning in Watertown, Massachusetts, veteran firefighter Joseph Toscano collapsed at the scene of a house fire in that city west of Boston. His fellow firefighters worked valiantly to revive him, but they were unable to. The 54-year-old Toscano leaves a wife and five children.

The day before, some three hundred miles to the southwest in the South Bronx, New York, 44-year-old FDNY EMT Yadira Arroyo and her partner were on the way a medical aid call when they were alerted to someone riding on their back bumper. When EMT Arroyo stopped the ambulance to investigate, the individual on the bumper climbed into the driver's seat, put the ambulance in reverse and backed over the single mother of five, killing her. She was then dragged by the ambulance when the individual attempted to drive away.

Those of you who followed A Charmed Life likely figured out I have been in EMS for many years. Both of these deaths could have been mine at any point. A former coworker now works for Watertown Fire; I did part of my paramedic ride time at EMT Arroyo's station - FDNY EMS Station 26. We are all frequently amazed by the connections within our public safety community.

Boston EMS and other EMS agencies will send men and women to New York to honor Yadira Arroyo. FDNY and other fire departments will send men and women to the small city on the Charles River to honor Joseph Toscano. These two great rivals, Boston and New York City, will once again put our differences aside and close ranks.

Because that's what we do.

Yadira Arroyo - End of Watch - 16 March 2017
Joseph Toscano - End of Watch - 17 March 2017

Standby to standby

March 9, 2017
Posted at 7:20 pm
Updated: March 9, 2017 - 9:16 pm

After looking at what I have written for my second story and the pace at which I'm writing, I've decided to complete the story before posting. This will allow me to review the entire work, to tweak it where necessary, allow Graybyrd time to edit it, and for me to revise it based on those edits. Once I've reached that point I'll begin posting. I wish I could give an accurate timeframe for this story's release, but I'm not sure where it will take me just yet.

Another reason for my decision is a storytelling guide Graybyrd brought to my attention. The guide's author, a gentleman with over fifty published works to his credit, offers a new lens with which to evaluate my current story's structure through, and how to proceed from there; Chapters 1 through 8 were revised using his guide and I've continued with writing. The author of the guide is David Morrell, the man who introduced the world to John Rambo; I have it on good authority his book First Blood is much better than the movie.

I don't believe this story will be as long as A Charmed Life, but I didn't think ACL would stretch as long as it did, either. In any event, it will most likely be the summer before it appears in the "New Stories" list.