Saturday, November 18, 2017

R.I.P., Malcolm Young

The rhythm guitarist for AC/DC has passed on.  :(

For those about to rock... but also for those who, like Mr. Young, have rocked in the past but shall rock no more... we salute you.



Thursday, November 16, 2017

Updates galore!

Not from me.  From Microsoft and Mozilla.

First came the Fall Creator's Update from Microsoft.  So far, so good.  I got a notice saying some audio-related thing had been disabled since it no longer worked with the new windows, but my speakers still work, so I don't know what that's all about. 

Next came the Mozilla update, the dreaded Firefox 57.  I knew this thing was going to break some non-zero number of my addons, but I didn't know how extensive the damage would be.  Luckily, it's not so bad.  Ghostery, uBlock, and AdBlockPlus still work, and those are the important ones since they keep out a lot of the malware from third-party ads.  Thumbnail Zoom broke, but I've found a suitable replacement.  Same for Flagfox.  I'm still not quite sold on the replacements for Context Search and gtranslate.  All in all, though, this update wasn't nearly as destructive as I feared.

So it looks like I'm still in business.  Yay, me.  Now, back to Mind Games...

Sunday, November 12, 2017

The Lattice will be appearing in an anthology

Alasdair Shaw has accepted my short story The Lattice for inclusion in his upcoming science fiction anthology, The Guardian.  It goes live at the end of the month, but one can pre-order it now.




Here's the cover:




Pretty cool, huh?  Yeah, I like it, too.

Here's the blurb on the product page, just to give you an idea of the common theme of the stories:

Guardians are defenders, carers and guides. Some look after individual people, others whole planets or universes, but all share a strong belief in their responsibility to protect their charges.


The anthology includes the following stories:

Awakening, by Alasdair Shaw
The Lattice, by Jeff Tanyard
Biting Shadow, by C. Gold
Gate of Dreams, by Rick Partlow
The Following Star, by Elizabeth Baxter
The Renewal, by Zen DiPietro
Stowaway, by Benjamin Douglas
Baptism of Fire, by Cora Buhlert
Sleeping Giant, by Andrew Vaillencourt
We Have the Stars, by J.J. Green
Warning Signs, by Edward M. Grant


Here's the link again:


Only $0.99.  Enjoy!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Maybe a diagram would help

I'm still working on the second draft of Mind Games.  I've just sent Lieutenant Gray's Wolf Platoon towards the river.  All hell broke loose, the convoy was scattered, and now I'm trying to keep track of everybody.

This is one of those things that's really easy to screw up.  The "scene" is several different miniature locations, and the platoon's squads have been separated.  I've got a bunch of sergeants and corporals to keep track of, as well as their locations, and I'll have to keep a close eye on things to make sure I don't accidentally use the wrong name.

So I'm thinking about making a diagram in MS Paint.

By the way: the word count of this book is currently just over 89k.  That's about 10k more than the first draft, which I expected, since I always end up adding more material during revision.  I'm hoping to break 100k by the time I'm done with this draft, and I think I should easily accomplish that.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Progress Report

I'm about half-way through the second draft of Mind Games.  It's slow going because I've had to stop and think about some things.  I've decided to beef up the first chapter, and basically re-write it from another character's POV.  This character wasn't planned to be in the book at all--he was scheduled to first appear in book 3--but I figured it wouldn't hurt to introduce him here, even though there's not much for him to actually do.  He'll get the first chapter and then a wrap-up scene at the end, I guess.  Like I said, I'm still working on that.

Struggling with tone.  What seemed the way to go in draft 1 is not looking good in draft 2, so I'm altering the tone a bit.  It's frustrating, because I feel like I'm hanging on to this story by my fingernails.  Hopefully it will all snap together in the end.

I've got a rudimentary outline for an urban fantasy novel.  :o  I have no idea when I'll actually get around to writing it, if ever.  Depends on how sales of the Wheel of Fire go, I guess.  If the series doesn't sell well after I've got three or four books out, then I might abandon it.  But that's looking way too far ahead.  The series might take off after book 3 like Timothy Ellis's series did.  There's simply no telling.  But I'm committed to Wheel of Fire at least through book 3.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

The Lunar Gambit - free promotion

Benjamin Douglas's The Lunar Gambit is temporarily free.  Click here to get it.

Here's the blurb:

His ship is wrecked. His missiles are gone. And he's been thrust into command on his first tour. What could go wrong?

Lucas Odin seems like a qualified first officer--on paper. But his only battles so far have been simulations, each one a miserable failure. He just isn't a "take charge" kind of guy. To be honest, he'd rather spend his first tour gaming on the ship's modded sims than dealing with real people. But when the Starship Fairfax is waylaid by pirates, Lucas inherits a mission already doomed to fail. If he wants to keep the ship flying, keep his crew alive, and take back what was stolen, there's only one way:

By taking charge.

I've read both Totaled, the prequel, and The Lunar Gambit, book 1 in the series.  My impressions:

The series is sort of like Star Trek crossed with The Expanse.  The hero is the ship captain--not by rank, but in a de facto sense--and the action takes place in the outer part of the solar system.  There are space pirates, and competing governments, and seedy underworlds full of mafia-style figures. The hero is more of a shy nerdy sort than the bombastic James Kirk from Star Trek, and I think that's a good thing.

Tone: there are no cuss words, nor is there any graphic content.  It's family-friendly.

Cool factor: inhabited asteroids.

The books are short, which means you don't have to invest a lot of time, so give them a try.  The promotion for the first book is only for a few days, so get it while it's free.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Hitler... in 1955?

As part of the recent JFK-related document dump, this little nugget turned up:





I'm not convinced that Hitler was alive in Columbia in 1955, but still... crazier things have turned out to be true.

And once again, I'm reminded of the old saying: The difference between fiction and real life is that fiction has to be believable.