“Miracles” Type-in Update (Late-October)

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009
type-in
81/106 scenes

I’m way past time for another progress update. Things have been, well, erratic. Between long days at work, sick children, and being sick for a while myself I’ve done my best to keep things moving. I’m happy to see that I’m about three quarters of the way to the end.1 But the past few days I’ve built up a decent momentum. Now I need to just hold on to it.

  1. At least to this part of the process []

Summer’s End

Monday, September 21st, 2009

Sorry things have been so quiet around here. With summer ending, and two kiddos back in school, things have been a little crazy as we settle into a somewhat familiar, predictably hectic, routine.  We had a lot of fun this summer as a family. We visited zoos, aquariums, museums, cookouts, and, of course, the beach.1

Writing Update

As I saw summer flying by I knowingly let the writing side of things slide a bit to make sure I enjoyed all the fun things we did as a family. 2   When I break my daily writing habit I have a very hard time re-starting it, which is why I cling to it so strongly. It’s even hard to re-start while adjusting to the much tighter morning schedule of the school year. But I’m happy to say that, after a rock start, things are back on track. I’m making daily progress and I’m starting to see the light at the end of the revisions tunnel on “Miracles”.

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63/105 scenes
  1. Although we only made it to the ocean once, and the weather was a bit overcast, everyone had such a great time it didn’t matter. []
  2. There were additional factors contributing to this being perhaps the most stressful summer I can remember, making happy family time more important that ever. []

Links of Interest (April 10th 2008 Through April 22nd 2008)

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008
Matthew Wayne Selznick Signs Book Deal
Author and Podcaster Matthew Wayne Selznick signed a deal with Swarm Press to re-issue his novel “Brave Men Run” in paperback. Congratulations Matt!
Take notes during phone calls with friends and family
One of those “that should have been obvious” suggestions. I’ve conditioned my brain to filter out most things that aren’t useful to me right now. This doesn’t mean I’m not interested in people’s anecdotes, and schedules, it just means I’m unlikely to remember them without some reminder.
Ajaxian Featured Tutorial: Hacking transparent PNG support into IE6 with IE PNG Fix, CSS and jQuery
Ah, IE6. I’m pretty good at getting it to do what I want, but it’s very existence makes most of the things I have to do harder than they should be. This tutorial deals with one of the harder issues, PNG transparency in positioned background images.
YouTube – Sigler Book Tour (Seattle Q&A) Part2
In the second part of the video Scott covers such diverse topics as Sci-Fi Channel’s lack of foresight and how when it appears he has made a mistake it is actually sabotage by J.C. Hutchins.
Sigler Book Tour (Seattle Q&A) Part1
I’m not lucky enough to live near any of the book stores Scott Sigler was signing at, but luckily Natalie Metzger captured this video of one of the Q & A sessions.

Another Moment: “at the End of the Day”

Tuesday, March 11th, 2008

So I joined Bitstrips...

At the End of the Day

Introduction and Work

Wednesday, September 5th, 2007
This is part 1 of 3 in the series Hello 31

I turned thirty-one yesterday, which means it’s been a year since I left Sun Microsystems (SUNWJAVA) for my current job. A lot of things happened, good and bad, expected and unexpected. Things started changing pretty quickly last September, and it hasn’t stopped yet (of course it never really does, but some of these were a bit bigger than I was used to).

Work

I’m starting with work because it was the most immediate change, starting the day after turning thirty. Besides working somewhere new I also went from a work-from-home 7:00am to 3:00pm job to a more standard 9-to-5 office setting. It’s still casual (which is good because so am I) and fairly flexible. The people are great, which is very important. Working in an office is quite a change. Firstly, I now need to shower before work instead of just before lunch. Also, with my vision is so poor I’m distracted by things out of the corner of my eye (which are all just different colored blurs). I’m pretty sure this is a hold over from getting the dodge ball in the side of the head because I couldn’t see it coming.

The work is interesting and often enjoyable. I hadn’t used Visual Studio since the mid 90s, so that was a change. I’d never touched C# or .NET before. The target browser was the polar opposite of everything I’d done to date. Once I got my head around ASP.NET I got the hang of things pretty fast (although I still have a tendency to code to the standard, then work around the browser bugs). I’m happy I made the jump, and I have no regrets (other than wishing I had been laid off from Sun).

I’m looking forward to the coming year. I’m working on some good projects and I’m excited about some of the new directions things are going in. My contributions seem well received and appreciated. My desk feels like my desk, and I look forward to seeing the people I work with. Not bad at all.

Sick

Monday, January 15th, 2007

All four of us have some sort of cold. Rachel is probably doing the best, which is unfortunate because she can run circles around us when we’re all feeling great, so now she has all this excess energy because no one will run around with her, and jumping about makes her cough. I’m trying to pretend I’m not sick to take care of everyone else, but it’s not always working.

My boss was nice enough to drop off my work computer at my house today, so at least I can get work done without infecting my whole office. I’m hoping to return to something a bit more normal any day now, but who can tell.

“You Can’t Win.”

Saturday, October 21st, 2006

One of the great life lessons my dad taught me was “You can’t win.” He taught me this every time he had a certain type of argument with my mother. Once it was over he would explain to me that he could not win these arguments, and that I would never win them either. I haven’t thought about this in a while, but just a moment ago, my wife came into my office to yell at me because when she came upstairs to go to bed she thought I might be hiding, ready to jump out and scare her. I wasn’t. I was checking my email before going to bed. Apparently she figured this out, and came to yell at me that it would have been horrible had I been planning on scaring her. In fact, she was scared that I might be doing something to scare her, even though I wasn’t. I asked for clarification that I was being yelled at for not scaring her. “No!”, she replied.

I’m so glad my dad prepared me for this. Thanks dad! Good night!

You Write Fantasy? Isn’t That a Lot of Work?

Thursday, October 5th, 2006

Holly Lisle posted the the introduction to Holly Lisle’s Create A Culture Clinic, the next volume in her Worldbuilding Course. Reading it really drove some things home for me. My wife often asks why I choose to write stories set in a fantasy world that I have to create, giving myself that much extra work to do (other people ask too, but she asks most often). There are two problems with that. Firstly, it’s not so much a choice so much as when I sit down to write, I write fantasy stories. I didn’t make a conscious decision to write fantasy stories. Secondly, I don’t think it is more work.

No one seems to believe me on either of those, but the second one seems to dwarf the first in peoples minds. How can I possibly believe such a thing? Because it’s true.

If I want to have a race of purple headed bird people in my world I have some work to do. How to they interact with other races? How are their lives different than humans? What’s their history? Do they speak their own language? Do they eat worms? That’s just the start, and perhaps these violet faced flying folk will only play a passing role in my story.

What’s that? I’m failing to prove my point? Be patient.

If I want to set a story in modern day Saginaw, Michigan, where I’ve never been, I still have quite a bit of work to do. What are the people like? What’s the economic and social structure? What local slang is in use, and by what age groups? What clothing lines are popular with high schoolers? What’s the ethnic makeup of the city? What color are the police cars? How many schools do they have? That too is just the start.

See, in the fantasy world, I make my own answers. Sure I have to make them work in a believable context, and I might make some stupid choices I have to later deal with in some way, but I can’t really be wrong. After all, I’m the world authority on those purple headed bird people. You might think people will be forgiving in the second scenario. It’s only fiction after all, right? Not that I’ve seen. Authors who take liberties with the world we live in get ripped apart. Maybe not all the time, but I’ve seen it happen about really stupid stuff.

So why not write about my hometown, or somewhere I know more about firsthand? I’ve always felt I had a lot of good reasons why I chose not to do that. But Holly’s introduction gave me another one by pointing out a big danger in writing about the world you live in. If you fail to capture the culture in the story, once the culture changes you’re story will no longer work. Yikes! It’s not that it can’t be done, and maybe I could do it, but it sounds like a lot of extra work.

1-Pass Day 22: (41004/97729)

Monday, September 18th, 2006
Type in
41004/97729

Took the kids to The Big E yesterday with my mom and Howie. We had a great time. Rachel really enjoyed the rides and both kids loved seeing all the animals. It was pretty late by the time we got back home. I managed to carry both kids to bed from the car without issue. Good thing, because I was ready to get some sleep.

After getting the kids off to bed tonight Denise and I watched the season finale of Life on Mars. It’s a great show and I really recommend it. The main character is a modern day police officer who is hit by a car and wakes up in 1973. He believes he’s in a coma and everyone else thinks he’s crazy when he tries to explain. Not your average cop drama. Very well done.

After that I headed up to the office to continue on with the revisions. I think I made pretty good progress.

One Pass Revision: Day 12 Slog Complete

Sunday, July 9th, 2006
Manuscript Slog Page Count
563/563

Wahoo! I’ll write more later, but I need to go spend time with the long ignored family now.