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.