Saturday, January 30, 2016

Fight scenes are exhausting

I'm about halfway through the mobi edit of Mercury.  I just got done revising a major fight scene, and it sort of took it all out of me.  I feel like I've been fighting along with the hero.

I think that's good, though.  Hopefully the readers will feel the same way.  You want them to identify with the hero, right?  So wring them out along with him.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Chapters and goals

I've added chapters to Venus.  I've got forty-seven of them, plus an epilogue.  They're short chapters.

When I write, I don't think in terms of chapters.  I think in terms of scenes, and then I insert asterisk breaks to separate them.  So I have to go in and add chapters after the fact.

I think I've put the chapter breaks in good places, but that's for my beta readers to decide, so we'll see.

I've also re-written a good bit of Act 1.  Hopefully it's more compelling now.

My next objective is to do the mobi edit for Mercury.  Once that's done, I'll send both it and Venus off for beta reading.  And while they're being critiqued, I'll start writing the first draft of Mars.

Intermediate goals: Have both books ready to email out by Valentine's Day.  Finish the first draft of Mars in four weeks.  Outline the entire Wheel of Fire series before April.

Long-term goals: Publish six books in the fall: all three books of the Free Space trilogy, plus the first three books of the Wheel of Fire series.  Hopefully see some real money coming in by the end of the year.

Yeah, this is all very ambitious.  But I think I can pull it off.  And if not, I'll at least get a lot done in the process.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Second episode

Monday night's episode of The X-files was much better.  It felt like everyone involved with the show had gotten back into the old rhythm of it.  Looking forward to the remaining episodes.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

X-files returns

So I watched the episode, naturally, after watching Cam Newton and company slaughter the Cardinals.  Back in the '90's, it was some of the best stuff on television.  I had high hopes.

First impression: I like that they re-used the original opening sequence.  Some things are timeless.

After that, though, it got a little "meh." 

Parts of it seemed rushed, like they were trying to cram as much as they could into one episode.  Hopefully the pace will settle down in the coming episodes.

The Cigarette Smoking Man is back.  The guy is indestructible, it seems.  Cancer can't kill him, nor can being blown up by a missile.  Good thing, too, since the show's just not the same without him.

It's always nice to see Rance Howard on screen, though I barely recognized him with the beard.

Anyway, I'm not blown away yet, but we'll see how it goes.  It's only on for six episodes, so there's no reason not to give the whole season a try.

Friday, January 22, 2016


Yep.  It's here.  First snow of the season.

If I had to guess, I'd say this area averages around one snowfall per year.  Some years it doesn't snow, but most years it does.  And sometimes it snows more than once a year.

We even had a white Christmas one year.  It was in 2010, I think.

Another year, it snowed in May.  It was just flurries, and they didn't stick, of course, but it was actual frozen water falling in the middle of spring.  That was a crazy one.

Snow is rare enough so that it's kind of neat, I guess, but I still prefer summer.  When the temperature is 90 or more, and the humidity is thick enough to cut with a knife, and the air is alive with the sound of cicadas... yeah.  Those are the days when you just want to sit outside in the shade, turn on a radio, and dream up new worlds to write about.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Going wide again

I let Buddy's KU enrollment run out in December.  I'm putting it out wide again--direct at Nook and Kobo, and D2D for the other places.  Once it's live, I'll update the sidebar links.

This should be the last time I move these short stories around.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016


As an author, I believe my strengths are plotting, dialog, and action.  I believe my primary weakness is setting description.  I outline all the stuff that I want to happen, but I don't include any color in that outline.  It reads like a news report.  The result is that I have to go back and add some color to the story after the fact.

A master of setting, of course, was Tolkien.  Consider this selection from Lord of the Rings:

“The others cast themselves down upon the fragrant grass, but Frodo stood awhile still lost in wonder. It seemed to him that he had stepped through a high window that looked on a vanished world. A light was upon it for which his language had no name. All that he saw was shapely, but the shapes seemed at once clear cut, as if they had been first conceived and drawn at the uncovering of his eyes, and ancient as if they had endured for ever. He saw no colour but those he knew, gold and white and blue and green, but they were fresh and poignant, as if he had at that moment first perceived them and made for them names new and wonderful. In winter here no heart could mourn for summer or for spring. No blemish or sickness or deformity could be seen in anything that grew upon the earth. On the land of L√≥rien, there was no stain.”

I hope I can write like that some day.

Outline is done

I've finally finished the Mars outline.  I may make some changes, but the important thing is that, at the moment, it has no holes.  There's a beginning, a middle, and an end, and I think I've covered all the phases of the Hero's Journey.  It's a complete story.

I decided to work on it after several hours of beta reading.  I can only do that stuff for so long before I have to do something different.  Tearing apart another author's work is tough, not just mentally, but emotionally.  I don't like being the bearer of bad news.  But that's part of the process.  If you don't take your medicine, you won't get better.  And sometimes that medicine makes you gag and cry.  I just hate being the medicine-bearer.

I'm looking forward to getting the whole trilogy done and moving on to something else.  It may be a while before I attempt any more hard SF.  The soft stuff is easier.  And often more fun anyway.

Saturday, January 9, 2016


I'm taking a break from revising Mercury in order to do some beta reading.  I anticipate getting back to my own stuff in another week or so.

In the meantime, you're probably wondering which rifle--the AK-47 or the AR-15--is the best.  So here's the definitive answer.  (Warning: bad language)

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Embedded previews

I've changed the sidebar links for my stories.  Now, instead of taking one to the Amazon page, clicking on the Buddy or Mr. Wilson covers opens up a preview.  It's just like the Look Inside feature.  There's a "buy" button in the upper right.  It's pretty cool.