Monday, January 30, 2017

Wrote some stuff

For a short story.  Rattled off 1500 words, just like that.

I should be revising Cities of Mars, but I'll take this in the meantime.  At least I was productive for a little while.

It's tough to get back in the swing of things.  The holiday season always leaves me zonked.  It's great to be with family and give presents and eat a lot and all the other stuff, but it's distracting, too.  I can't work when all that's going on.

These 1500 words are encouraging.  Maybe it's a sign I'm getting my groove back.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Remembering Challenger

January 28, 1986 was a "snow day" for schools in the Atlanta suburbs.  A cold spell had swept down from the north, bringing with it a few inches of frozen stuff.  Most of the eastern seaboard had been freshly blanketed.  The accumulation stretched all the way to Florida.  We would later learn that a good bit of ice had collected on the launch pad.

I was in fifth grade, but due to school being canceled, was home watching television.  "The Price Is Right" was just about to start the "Showcase Showdown" portion of the show.  During the commercial break, the network broke in to broadcast the shuttle launch.

They never went back to The Price Is Right.

Upon seeing the explosion, I immediately thought the shuttle had blown up.  Then the people on tv started wondering what had happened, and I started to doubt myself.  I started thinking maybe what I saw was supposed to happen, or maybe I simply didn't understand what I was seeing.  I suspect many others, children and adults alike, had similar thoughts.

After a few minutes, though, it seemed to dawn on everyone what had happened.  We all learned, once again, that space flight is dangerous, and that the astronauts are putting their lives on the line every time they strap into their seats.  Let us never forget the brave men and women of Challenger, and let us never take space flight for granted.

R.I.P., John Hurt

I always enjoyed his performances.  :(  From Yahoo:

John Hurt, the esteemed British actor known for his burry voice and weathered visage — one that was kept hidden for his most acclaimed role, that of the deformed John Merrick in David Lynch’s The Elephant Man — has died, according to reports from several British newspapers. He was 77.

Here he is getting his chest ripped open:

And here he is as the villain in King Ralph:

Yeah, I liked King Ralph.  So sue me.  :S

Rest in peace, Mr. Hurt.

Friday, January 27, 2017


I'm working my way through Cities of Mars and making revisions based on a beta reader's comments.  When I'm done, I'll send it to another beta reader.  Then I'll get back to Caverns of Mercury and try to polish that up.

I went ahead and bit the bullet and bought some covers for the trilogy.  I had tried making my own, but the self-doubt was crippling, and I just had to delegate it for the sake of my own sanity.

I was productive earlier in the week, but I've slid into a rut the past couple of days.  Trying to get motivated, but it's tough.  Some days the words just don't come.  :(

When I finally publish the trilogy, I'm going wide right from the start.  No KU.  Too many shenanigans involved with that.  I'll make the first book perma-free as soon as possible and try to line up some promotions.  I intend to do as much as I can for the trilogy while the books are on the HNR list.

If I break even, I'll call it a win.

Monday, January 23, 2017

FastStone Image Viewer

I wasn't pleased with the Photos app that comes with Windows 10, and I didn't want to use Paint, so I searched for an alternative.  I just wanted an image viewer; nothing fancy.  The first thing that came up on Google was the FastStone program, a free program, so I gave it a try.

I love it.  It's pretty awesome, and I've already set it to be the default program for opening pics.

The Falcons are going to the Super Bowl!

It's the second Super Bowl in team history.  The first one was a loss to the Broncos.

I have higher expectations for this one.

The Patriots are no slouches, of course, and the game won't be easy.  But the Falcons are peaking at the right time, the team is as healthy as any NFL team can be expected to be in the playoffs, and Matt Ryan has looked a bit more "driven" of late than usual.  The Patriots will probably be favored, but I like our chances.

Let's bring the Lombardi Trophy to Atlanta.  :D

Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Beauty of History

They say truth is stranger than fiction.  They are correct.  History is full of all sorts of wild, crazy stuff and out-of-this-world characters.

As an example, consider the following people:

Black Agnes of Dunbar

In 1338, when Patrick Dunbar was away, the English laid siege to Dunbar Castle, where Lady Agnes was in residence with her servants and a few guards. However, she was determined not to surrender the fortress, and is said to have declared:
"Of Scotland's King I haud my house, I pay him meat and fee, And I will keep my gude auld house, while my house will keep me."
Women were known to take charge of castle or manor business while the husband was away in the Middle Ages, but the stand of Lady Agnes is one of the best remembered instances. Salisbury’s first attempt at taking the castle centered on catapulting huge rocks and lead shot against the ramparts, but this was met with disdain by Lady Agnes, who had one of her ladies-in-waiting dust off the ramparts with her kerchief.

Jenny Geddes

The first use of the prayer book was in St Giles' on Sunday 23 July 1637, when James Hannay, Dean of Edinburgh, began to read the Collects, part of the prescribed service, and Jenny Geddes, a market-woman or street-seller, threw her stool straight at the Minister's head. Some sources describe it as a "fald stool" or a "creepie-stool" meaning a folding stool as shown flying towards the Dean in the illustration, while others claim that it was a larger, three-legged cuttie-stool. As she hurled the stool she is reported to have yelled:
"De'il gie you colic, the wame o’ ye, fause thief; daur ye say Mass in my lug?" meaning "Devil cause you colic in your stomach, false thief: dare you say the Mass in my ear?".

David Leslie

David Leslie, 1st Lord Newark (c. 1600–1682) was a cavalry officer and General in the English Civil War and Scottish Civil Wars. A son of Patrick Leslie, 1st Lord Lindores, he fought for the Swedish army of Gustavus Adolphus as a professional soldier during the Thirty Years' War. He had entered Swedish service in 1630, serving as a captain in the regiment of Alexander Leslie (future Earl of Leven).
David Leslie was one of the Scots who transferred from Swedish to Russian service under Alexander Leslie of Auchintoul (not to be confused with Leven) in 1632 to participate in the Smolensk War and was mentioned by name in Auchintoul's testimonial.

Scottish history in particular is full of such colorful characters.  George R.R. Martin's Red Wedding, for example, was inspired by the Black Dinner.  Lots of crazy things have happened in Alba.  And that's just one country.  If you draw inspiration from many different countries, and then mix and match for your story, then you can come up with some wild stuff.

When I get around to writing my epic fantasy, I'm definitely going to have some characters inspired by the three I just mentioned.  They're simply too good to not be borrowed from a little.

So look to history for some ideas.  You'll find more than you know what to do with.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Bring on the Packers!

It will be the final game in the Georgia Dome.  *sniff*  Let's make it a win for the home team.  Go Falcons!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Multi-author speculative fiction promotion!

All books are 99 cents, including a short story by yours truly.  :D  So browse around and see if anything catches your eye.  You never know; you might find a new favorite author.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Snowmageddon (?)

The weather people are predicting frozen precipitation for these parts on Friday night.  That's right... the "S" word... the great white horror... the crystalline demons of an icy hell.


One to three inches of it, if you can believe such a thing.  Three inches!


I'll be right here with you guys all the way.  We'll get through these difficult times together.  And when the meteorological nightmare is over, we'll be better men for it.  Stronger men.  We'll be freakin' heroes of legend, like Hercules and Achilles and Duke Nukem.

See you on the other side.

Names of companies

I hate trying to come up with names for businesses.  I'll think I've come up with a good one, and then I'll google it and it turns out to be an actual name for an actual company.  So I can't use it, because I don't want to cause any trouble for them or open myself up to legal challenges and whatnot. 

The result is that I'll end up googling a couple dozen names before finding one that both doesn't suck and isn't currently in use.

What the internet needs is a business name generator.  There are plenty of character name generators out there.  Let's get one for corporations.  The generator needs to only produce names that aren't currently in use by some business somewhere in the world.

Tech guys, get on it!  :D