Friday, March 16, 2012

The weekly update

Friday will now be reserved for how well did writing go this week.  Last Friday I started back on The Conflict Within and this was a good week. normally I shoot for 2k words a day during the week when I am on a binge, and managed to meet that goal all but one day of the week. Most days though 2.3 thousand words or so were clocked in for a grand weekly total of 14,439 words. 

Things that I have learned so far this week. While i am a plotster (a person who works from an outline) but working from my only slightly reworked ten year old outline, I am turning into a pantster (person who just makes things up as they go along). Because while I have my plot points laid out so that I can keep track of all the crazy stuff that is going on, I have been making up long detailed handles for each of the scenes, starting things well before the stuff in the outline, giving the characters some breathing room and letting me build more of the world. 

So far this week it has mostly be recovery form the big battle that I had just finished when I left the book last year, now I think we have almost completely dealt with that and have moved on to setting up the next phase of the plot.

* Looking at my outline for the next three books, I have discovered that I let a lot of really good plot points dangling that I set up in the first, so I can see major outline revisions needing to be done before I start writing book two.  A few people that were small parts I have become found of and found ways that they work in book two so they will come back. A few people have changed dramatically as well.

* I pulled a page from Game of Thrones hand book, the show not the books though I am guilty of that as well. No this time I feel into the world of sexposition, which I will leave the link here to explain for you.

* Being back in my office has worked wonders for my productivity.

* The Conflict Within went from the shortest book I currently have to the third longest, passing both Killing to Know and Bodies Under 95. I should pass Breaking Overnight next week without much trouble. The Long Night is still probably two weeks out before I can pass that, which I have no doubt that I will because this book will be massive.

That is all for this week, I'll have another update on the book next Friday.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Galactica Part 1

This is the first TV Wednesday post and I figure that I will start with something that isn't as scary in the space opera genera, Battlestar Galactica.  I won't bore people with reviews of every episode, or a long discussion on the show and God (OK well that might be another post down the road) but today we are going to do the the top ten episodes of the re-imaged Galactica. Now this is my top ten favorite episodes, there are some good episodes that had some great moments that didn't make the cut, and I might have to do a best moments list as well but enough of the build up lets get the the list numbers 10-6.  All the summery will be taken from the Battlestar wiki

And lastly expect spoilers, so ya, if you haven't just go watch the show, it is on Netflix instant.

10: Hand of God Summery
I have always liked this episode because it isn't about the greater overarching plot (aside from the fuel issue in season 1) and it is filled with action. Also as an Apollo focused episode it should be definition suck, (I'm looking at you Black Market. This one works because he overcomes that I'm not good enough complex and gets the job done. Also it introduces the theme that picks up between Apollo and Adama throughout the rest of the show.

This is one that I can see people thinking I am crazy for liking so much but I like it because it is so simple.

9: Scattered Summery
This first episode of Season 1 is what established Colonel Tigh as my favorite character. He shows that in a solely combat since he can lead the ship, and does manage to find the rest of the fleet. Another episode filled with action and this show does dog fights really well.  Also with our dog being named Gaius Baltar the line where Tigh calls him a "shifty son of a bitch" is one of my favorites.

One Kobal, everything is going to hell for for the crash survivors, and that is a fun little story line watching Crashdown fail at being a leader, and Baltar being as always a coward.  This is the only episode from the whole 9 episode Kobal storyline, on a whole that is a really good span of episodes, and so interconnected that I don't always remember which episode is which because they run together so well.

Also it ends with a good cliff hanger.

8: Revelations Summery
The mid season finale for Season 4, and the episode where they reach Earth and find it to be completely nuked. This one has some payoff, mostly Starbuck and her Viper, and of course we reach Earth. The first half of the season was so dull and dragging that his episode which is tight and tense was a breath of fresh air. There is also that nice cold war feel of we are talking and threatening each other with nukes hiding behind the threats.

7: Downloaded Summery
What I really like about this is that it takes a comply different perspective on the whole universe, and then manages to reshape how we see everything. I liked how you had two Cylon heroes who were just as damaged and screwed up as the humans in the Fleet. Caprica Six is not in anyway how I thought she would have been after spending so much time with Head Six, and Boomer was still all trauma shocked. This lead directly to how the New Caprica storyline played out, and made me like one of those Cylons more and make me cheer when the other got offed in Daybreak.

6: Pegasus (extended) Summery
I would like to first say this is for the extended version of the episdoe that can be found on the season 2.5 box set, I'm sure it is on the blu ray set as well. 
It starts with such hope, they find more humans and another Battlestar to boot, and things are downhill from there.  We get a much crazier version of Admiral Kane then we had in the original series, and she outranks Adama as well. Tension starts to mount as we get bits of info about a fleet that they might have had, and just the general way that the Pegasus crew operates. This is another one of those episodes where they spend the whole time ratcheting up the tension and the end it with a great cliffhanger, the ships positioning themselves to blow each other out of the water.

Those are the first five on my list of ten personal favorite episodes, I will have the top five next week. So say we all.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

First book review and a slight change of pace.

So far this blog has been about how I got to where I am now as a writer. Now that I have picked back up The Conflict Within, I am going to start really seeping myself back into my Sci-fi roots. So for a little while, and I hope to post more then once a week, we are going to talk about Sci-fi and Sci-fi only, except for a little Game of Thrones here and there.

So come join me as I geek out, I'm going to try and review books and episodes of some of my favorite shows, we are going to start TV wise with what I call sci-fi pot Battlestar Galactica (RDM) and then move to something a little more scary, Babylon 5. I believe this to be the best show ever and if you don't at least like it after seeing all five seasons I will rethink our friendship. If you think I am kidding ask Elizabeth, I was really worried that we couldn't be together if she hated that show.

But enough about TV because today we are going to start with a book review, because well I am writing a book that is what I do, and even though TV and movies have really framed my world view of the genera but today a book.

This afternoon I finished the first of the Gabriel series by  Steve Umstead the book is Gabriels Redemption.

At first glance I'm going to give this four stars I had a lot of fun reading it and picked up book two as soon as I finished the first one.

(This is the book summery from Amazon for those who are leery to click links)
North American Federation Navy Commander Evan Gabriel was dishonorably discharged after a disastrous mission on a far off world called Eden. He's spent the last five years hiding from his past, from those responsible for the failed mission, from those responsible for running him out of the Navy, and from those originally responsible for making him into who he was - a highly-trained, physically and mentally augmented Special Forces soldier.

Two mysterious visitors appear unannounced at the door of a Gabriel's seedy hotel room in the slums of Jamaica. His past has finally caught up with him.

From the decaying Caribbean to politically-charged South America, from the back alleys of Mars to a tiny colony on a planet six hundred light years from Earth, Gabriel's Redemption is a near-future military science fiction story of a personal journey seen from the perspective of a soldier who has lost everything -- one who desperately needs to redeem himself not only in his government's eyes, but also his own.

Interstellar action and political intrigue mix with one-on-one battles on the surface of a frozen planet in Book One of the science fiction-adventure trilogy. 

Hello again. OK so how do I feel outside of the simple statement of 4 stars. I love good military sci-fi in books, love it. This is in a lot of ways Starship Troopers without the political side story. (Yes I know that is what that book is but the comparison is apt.) The main character Gabriel is drawn well and makes since. As the story starts, Umstead builds the world very very well. Technology makes since, I love their ships and the way he deals with FTL travel, wormholes that are a crap shoot the first time through is really cool. The team of gruff special forces types come together, as good real people, that you feel when bodies start to hit the floor.

My only real complaint with the book was that it seemed to rush a bit through the climax, wrapping everything up a little to quickly. I felt like the book could have easily been another hundred pages and not felt overlong or milked. (pages being relative as I read this on my Nook which does page numbers).

I like to keep reviews short, so I am going to end it by emphatically stating that you should give this indie author a go, I mean what do you have to lose but a few bucks, still cheaper then a paper back and as good if not better then what you are going to find new in a book store.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Going Free

After enrolling Killing to Know in KDP select, I started a free three day promo that started yesterday and goes through tomorrow.  So far I have seen almost 6000 downloads and gotten my rank to as high as #43 in the free store and #3 free for hard boiled. I'm sitting at #50 in the free store as of this writing. 

The hope is that this will maybe lead to some sales put me in a better place then deep deep in the 100k in the paid store, and most importantly generate a few reviews. 

I shall update you my faithful readers in a few days as to how this all shakes out.

Update #1 (12:08 March 6)

Killing to Know is doing well, March has so far been the best month that I have had since I started publishing.  I have learned a few things though. When you go free the grammar people come out. Apparently there were still more error then I thought in the text and I have been called to take on it twice so far, and netting a one star review, pulling the book down to 2.5 stars.  I also had a single return.  So I might have to get another set of eyes to go across it. I don't want that to sound like I'm bad mouthing the people that did edit the book, I mostly feel that I should have delivered to them a cleaner script. 

That being said The Long Night isn't going anywhere near Select until it gets a good grammatical polish, people have given it a pass so far, but I don't want to get ripped up like that again. I would rather get a bad review because they hated the book not because I can't spell or use a comma to save my life. I have faith that that book can fly with six good reviews and a cover that keeps getting compliments left and right.  

I think marketing wise my one major mistake was that I assumed that Pixel of Ink charged for free books like they did paid books and thus missed out on trying to get in on one of their mailings, which might have netted me another thousand or so more free books.

So my plan going forward with Killing to Know is keep riding the wave, promoting, and hoping that it gets moved around and picked up, maybe gets a review from a person that is not as anal. Then I'll make sure that Breaking Overnight is is super strong condition, and launch it in select, so that I can do a free run a week or so after it's launch.  It sucks that I have to make the Nook people wait 90 days, but the freebee has given me more traction than I was going to get otherwise.  I got lucky in January with B&N being nice to The Long Night. That said I don't plan to stay in Select for more then the normal 90 days going back to being avalable for everybody, with hopefully some more momentum.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Two Towers

I tried to come up with two book-ending posts about fellowship and returning kings so I could make a grand Lord of the Rings reference, but I just couldn't come up with anything, the little nerd inside me is sad.

Onward, to what this post is really about.  This is Gracie, she is a grumpy ten year old Persian with arthritis.  Her aching back legs have kept her from getting on the table where her food was.  Her food of course was on the table so that Gaius, our thieving little dog, couldn't get to it.

After spending night after night listing to her fail to make it up onto the table an falling to the ground with a loud smack followed by a long painful moan Liz and I decided to move her food to the pet room, where her litter box is. The pet room is blocked off by a baby gate, so low enough for Gracie to get over but to high for Gaius and his stumpy little Doxie legs to scale.

That was what we thought, turns out Gracie is the exact opposite of her name, and doesn't quite face plant into the gate so much as get her front paws over the top and then scuttle across. More often then not though she would fall to the ground and again scream in pain. Now the Pet room is right next to the Master bedroom, making this night time screaming worse.

Or original idea was to get a long piece of carpet and lay it across the gate so that she had coming to grip and pull her self up, because as she reminds us when saving her, Gracie still has claws. A few weeks ago Liz and I were in NoVa at her parents house, because we had a meeting with the rabbi (ah wedding planning). I got to talking with her dad about our problem and plan, and he suggested a cat tower, and after spit balling the idea we hit on the idea to use two small cat towers next to the gate so she could get on them climb and even sit down if she wanted.  We lucked out in that Liz's parent's had two old towers that their cats were not using.

We came home and I put this together.

After a few days, and some well placed tuna, Gracie got the idea and started using the towers to help her get across the gate to her food and litter box, which were now pain free and dog safe. A few days ago I saw her sitting in the outside tower, she looked up and said hello as I walked by even, so I think this was a susses.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

GI Joe

As a child I was big into GI Joe, the toys the comic the cartoon, any and everything that had to do with the property.  I loved the characters, the looks of the vehicles and enjoyed the story as I could get it broken apart as it was for me. 

Throughout the years even as I drifted away from the 3.5 inch action figures and then they disappeared for a while I still loved the comic books. The first run ended in the early '90's after started in 1982. Because of this started before both my birth and ability to read I missed almost all the issues, and thus started my quest to buy as many as I could.  Normally that involved going to boxes and boxes of X-men and Punisher comics at antic stores and flee markets. I didn't usually find very many issues, and usually seemed to find the same four or five, but every time I found one I would buy it. 

Now I'm not a comic snob and the ones I had before that are in lets just say really shitty condition. I couldn't keep the covers on those suckers to save my life. Also as a boarded 5 to 6 year old I drew in them. I know I know a moral sin, they should have had boards I'm a savage, put away your inner Brodies and let me be, the ones I have now all have covers and are in cases with boards.

I had given up on my GI Joe quest for a long time till one day a few years ago when Liz took me to this little restaurant near VCU that served local food with a rotating menu. Really good food even if it did feel a bit to hippy for me. In the front they had a few big boxes of comic books and started pawing through them. Low and behold I found around 30 issues of GI Joe. Issues that I had never seen, the second parts to story arcs that I had owned part one of for years.  It was a gold mine that I jumped on.

Looking back I always new that GI Joe had an effect on how I viewed story telling and some of the stories I created.  Sure there is a lot of Solid Snake in Mongoose from The Yokai Project, but there is also some Snake Eyes.


Monday, February 6, 2012

Timeline and other things

So the Writing Adventure is about more then just plugging what is out or talking about old writing. The adventure is how did we get to where we are today as people and society etc.

A few weeks ago I switched to Timeline on Facebook so that I would be just a little bit ahead of the grandmothers and Luddites, (even people who hate tech have Facebook right?) As I was going through old posts I could see trends, mostly when I was watching a show I was really enjoying. In other words I would like to apologize for filling peoples news feeds with the following, Game of Thrones, Battlestar Galactica, The Wire, Stargate, etc.

Another thing that I found was this. 

A note that I pulled off somebodies wall that asked 25 uninteresting questions.  That was Feb of 09 now that it is 12, I figure I will see how things have changed how have I grown up or regressed, as the case might be.  (New comments in Bold)

OK so it happened. You know the drill.

1. I have come to realize I like frak more then well you know.
I still like frak but have gone back to using the old triad and true, original. I do now say Godsdamn a lot go figure.

2. I am incapable of sitting still. Weather it be just tapping my foot rapping my fingers or having a leg spasm.
Still true, I suck at sitting or standing still.

3. I know the run time in minutes of every movie I own and most I rent or see.
I don't see as many but I do always look up the run time, and can peace things together from trailers.

4. I have a 125 page outline for a novel I have started twice but well probably never finish.
I will finish it damn it! I wrote 40k words on it last spring and want to go back after I knock out Bodies under 95.

5. Yes I gained 50 pounds in a semester. I blame Beer.
Haven't lost it haven't started eating right, still drink Beer, could use one right now.

6. I listen to talk radio in the car when I'm alone because it helps me focus to pretend a person is there. I do this even though I want to kill conservative pundits.
We have a great new version of NPR, so Rush and Glen don't get my blood pressure up anymore.

7. Real blood makes me sick but fake blood is a blast.
Still true.

8. I hated dogs till Gaius came along.
Yup, can't fathom why though.

9. I almost voted for Roslen/airlock 08.
They would have killed Osama faster, and spaced a few bankers saving us billions.

10. When I walk I look at my feet like they are going to not work or something.
I haven't fallen yet, no need to try anything new.

11. I own a fedora so that my shadow can look bitchen cool.
You can't have a black wool coat without a fedora, I'm sure that is a law or something.

12. I know how to and enjoy cross stitching. Though I suck at it.
My thread box mostly fixes clothing now. Though I did give one of Gaius's toys a Col. Tigh eye patch with some cross-stitching fabric.

13. I own a 1gig ipod nano that I never use, and have no intention of getting a bigger one or a smart phone in the future.
iPod touch and want a smart phone so bad it isn't funny. What the fuck was I thinking, I mean really?

14. I watch horrible TV shows that I don't even like because they are in High Def.
I don't watch crap TV on my own, or SD willingly for anything that wasn't shot that way.

15. I have gained and lost real life friends over World of Warcraft.
Haven't lost or gained anymore which is good, though if I played TOR more that might change.

16. I got into news because I couldn't draw and VCU hides film behind AFO.
Three Years doesn't make that statement any less factual.

17. extremists on both sides of the political spectrum piss me the frak off. Hasn't anybody heard of common frakking since and compromise.
Oh Padawan you knew nothing in the good old days of '09.

18. I fully expect to have a heart attack by age 40. If not from the temper it well be the McDonalds.
Ya, that is probably sadly still true, running is for crazy people.

19. The world isn't as creepy alone at 3am as I thought it would be.
True, now that I am out of the city it has gotten better. Though that first night of pitch blackness an quiet was really unnerving.

20. I am a lazy slob who has yet to grasp that clothing goes in a dresser. It took me years to understand the dirty clothing doesn't belong on the floor with clean in the hamper.
I have regressed to dirty goes on the floor, clean goes in the dryer.

21. I can't spell and I no longer give a frak about it.
No since fighting with it, that is what spell check, editors, and Google are for.

22. I am able to judge people by the movies and TV shows they like. And I'm OK with that.
If you haven't watched The Wire you really shouldn't be allowed to vote.

23. Anybody who loves Babylon 5 is instantly my friend. To a lesser extent with SeaQuest.
I think NBC could have a hit if they let Ron Moore Fix-up SeaQuest like he did Battlestar.

24. I am sick of people thinking I'm a chick at restaurants. I cut off the damn pony tail five years ago. I know its kind of long now but lord I'm an ugly chick.
Almost a decade later and it still happens, I might as well just get fake tits and call it a day.

25. I love puns and am not ashamed about it at all.
Presented without comment.

Some stuff has changed some has not, but it was cool to see a snapshot from the past.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Another book down.

Another book has fallen off the list.  Killing to Know my first NaNo project is now available for the Nook and Kindle.

The other part to this post is that I said I wouldn't shave or get a haircut until I was finished, as a way to push me along.  I got it up late yesterday and thus didn't have a chance to get trimmed. A day late is still better then nothing at all.
Me looking all rugged and such.
Now that it is over, I got a trim and ran a razor across my face, that scruffy was thicker then it looks, not if only it would grow together so I could have a proper goatee.

Me with a bit less hair.
Now who wants to guess how scruffy I'll look when I finish Breaking Overnight?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

To old keyboards

The keyboard that I had been using for the last few years, finally started to die on me last week. It would go through phases where it became hard to type, the commands were not getting from the keyboard to the computer without a lot of force on the keys or a long delay period.  i'm not sure what what was wrong with old faithful I just knew that her time was at an end. 

The old keyboard.

That keyboard and I had a good run toghter, especally for the ten bucks I payed for it at Target. that keyboard got me through four novels, countless forums posts and status updates, and hours of gaming time.  I only had two complates about the devices, the funky not real F keys and that fact that it was to quiet. 

As a writer I am in love with that old click klack that typewriters make, and as thus gravatate to cheep loud keyboards that will give me the same effect.  That had become harder and harder to find because more and more people are looking for quiet keyboards that have more in common with what you would find on a laptop then on a full sized keyboard made for a desktop computer. 

The new Keyboard

I found myself a new keyboard, that isn't horribly loud but isn't quiet ether, so that is about as good a compromise as I am going to get. I didn't spend ten dollars this time, but I hope that it will last me a few years longer, well see though I do tend to abuse the hell out of my keyboards. In look and form it is a full sized version of the small blue tooth keyboard that Alex got me to go with the Touchpad, both are made by HP and have that metal look that says stark cold efficiency. Also the F are real and not just strange hyper linked things to functions that don't work right. 

This post was of course written with the new keyboard. I would just like to have a moment of silence for all the keyboards that we have lost over the years, and the ones that we continue to use on a daily basis.