Life Get’s in the Way

Been a busy week or so. Work, family, and generally life intervened to shut things down creatively. A little over a week ago the Fiancee lost a very good friend and she had to deal with a lot of personal things. This meant that I had to step up and ensure she was taken care of physically, mentally, and emotionally. What I have signed on for so no big deal.

Next, work. This was our busiest week in the department I am working in so extra hours and lots of baking was needed to be done. It’s a 24 hour store, except on holidays. And the days it’s opened people tend to go a little nuts. Of course there are a lot of family dinners over the Easter weekend and lots of bread products and sweets are also desired. I had a couple later half shifts where I showed up and was diving into the mixer and setting up product for the next open day and that shift.

There were a few days that I dragged my sorry ass home and dealt with the general day to day stuff like dinner and the Squire. As of Monday, things will return to that level of craziness that we call normal around here.

So, plans and stuff. I have a book to finish, and stories to get proofed and edited for publishing. I aim to start pumping out some of my shorter works to the distribution channel soon. If I can manage it maybe one story or two stories a month. I have no time line for the book that comes after “A Fall of Dust”, just that it’s almost completely written. Working title is “Drifts of Snow”. All I will say about it at the moment. All the characters are clamoring in my head for their share in the spot light.

I will be looking as well what I need to get it set up as a dead tree edition. That’s going to take more work. So, that’s where things stand and I hope to be out here more often. Enjoy your Sunday.

Educating…

Last night was date night. Typically me and the fiancee have one night every two weeks when the Squire is away with his mother where we just have us time. The past few months we were watching “Fear The Walking Dead” (which I am really disliking for numerous reasons). Last night though I figured I needed something different.

Well a week or so ago I saw a mention of a documentary that caught my attention. “In the Shadow of the Moon” about the race to and landings on our closest celestial neighbor. I bookmarked it on Amazon Prime for later viewing. And last night we sat down to watch it.

I just have to say, it was the best three hours I have spent watching the TV with her in my life. Yes, I know, it’s only an hour and a half long. I had to pause it a lot to stop and explain things or expand on stuff that I have read or learned in my years. You see, I lived and breathed space stuff. I have a copy of a a newspaper with the first space shuttle landing. It’s been kept in decent shape over the past 30+ years since I first bought it.

My fiancee is a bit uneducated about this aspect of modern history. Well compared to me that is. It was fun to stop and explain stuff about rockets, gravity, orbits and well, “Buck Rogers” dreams. It also helped listening to these astronauts and moon walkers describe their fantastic journey with wonder and awe. I mean it was beautiful listening to them describe small little details that you wouldn’t think of.

Anyway, it’s coming up on the 50th anniversary of the first landing. So there’s a lot of stuff to watch now and rediscover on my part with her. I went to Amazon and bought a bunch of DVD’s since my local Library doesn’t carry any of them. First will be “The Right Stuff”, and them the “Earth to the Moon” miniseries. After that? Well, I will think of something. Rediscovering the wonder of early space race is a thing that I can’t wait to share with my young son. I hope there are a ton of firsts that we will get to watch and share.

 

Rant Time

Sorry, have to vent my spleen a bit. Nothing serious and it’s all just my opinion here.

We have been watching “American Gods” on Amazon Prime. At the end of Season One we were looking forward to what would happen next in this screen adaption of the book by Neil Gaiman. I read it back when it first came out and enjoyed it immensely. Most things written my Mr. Gaiman intrigue me and I enjoy them. So I was looking forward to sitting down to see this.

The first season departed a fair bit from the book, which is to be expected I guess. It at least was fairly close in this season. Aside from making Mad Sweeney more of a character then a walk on role in the book. Then there was more focus on Laura Moon than in the book. I was willing to ignore those changes.

No in the second season I am getting angry with a lot of the sub text going on. It’s becoming less a journey of Shadow Moon and more a look at the injustices of American history and culture. A lot of the characters are angry and nasty. There’s very little enjoyable or whimsical like I found in the book.

Anansi almost seems like a vengeful good rather then the trickster god that he’s supposed to be. Perhaps I missed something in the original, and I will have to go back to read just to be sure (the first printing, NOT the enhanced version. If I can find it). Some of the other gods are just… I don’t know, they seem a little off.

Now another thing that irritates me is the gratuitious sex, nudity, and whatever else they throw in. It’s almost like they are trying to “improve” the story to the lowest common denominator.

One good thing, I guess, is the foreshadowing¬† about Shadow and his eventual role in the whole universe. Those that have read the book, will understand what I am talking about. On the other hand the show is being a little heavy handed in it. The Fiancee is enjoying it still, so we will be watching it a little longer. I just hope I don’t get frustrated and bail on her.

Why can’t Hollywood just do a faithful adaption of any books anymore? Well that’s my opinion for what it’s worth.

 

Just the Baked Goods Ma’am

Promised an update with pictures yesterday so here they are.

First, the regular loaf of bread:

Typical Bread

Next, the caraway rye loaf in the foreground: Caraway Rye and Regular Bread

I used the recipe from this site. Next time I will be using a lower temperature then the one they recommended.

Finally the peanut butter cookies:

Peanut Butter Cookies

Recipe found here with the modifications suggested by reviewers (extra 1/2 cup of peanut butter and 1/2 cup of flour and a teaspoon of vanilla extract)

I really enjoy the baking process and it gives me a little bit to think things through and get some plotting done in my head.

As well, it gave me a little more quality time with my son. Get them started early with the cooking and eventually they will be able to do it themselves.
Helping Hand

So, I guess I should get back to writing and stuff. Until next time.

In the Meantime…

It’s a quiet day. Weather is improving from the frigid cold of winter and showing signs of spring, which means rain and damp. The antidote? Baking of course. This means a typical weekend thing with me actually. I am the chief cook at home, it happens to be something I enjoy and put as much or as little thought into it as I need to. And when I say as little thought, I mean somethings are practically memorized so I don’t have to pore over a recipe book all the time.

On the agenda today is regular bread, rye bread with caraway seeds, and later peanut butter cookies. I will be enlisting the Squire when I do the cookies. The lovely lady in my life requested them and her wish is my demand in this case. A lot of work goes into properly planning things.

Regular bread is easy, just through the ingredients together in the bowl and turn on the mixer. When fully done, let it rise before putting it in the loaf pan and rising again before baking. Rye bread is a little trickier. Sponges, mixes, lots of rising and kneading. Probably be ready around dinner time I think. After lunch when the butter has softened enough will be cookies.

This is what I do to relax and to get other things percolating on the mental back burner. Food is important to all manner of things. The most important thing is the aroma’s that fill the house when everything is baking and cooking. It makes a house a home.

I will try to update this post later today with pictures of everything as well. So until then. Enjoy your Saturday.

It’s Alive!

Well, I have finally done it. Waffling around has ended and I have pushed the big shiny button to publish my first novel. That’s right, “A Fall of Dust” is now live on almost all ebook platforms. After much research, biting of nails, and worrying about things in general I just did it.

 

I am going wide rather than just sticking with one platform. From some of my research and readings I figured that it would be best if I didn’t tie myself to one company. I am using the company Draft 2 Digital which makes things mostly easy. I messed up and didn’t get something done before hitting the publish button so I have been awaiting Amazon links to go live.

 

Now, I just have to sit down and do something else again and release again. Back to the grindstone and keep doing it.

Keeping Organized

Well, I have managed to kick the writers block over and have started writing some stuff again. I was about three quarters of the way through Book 2 which is a sequel to “Fall of Dust” before I ran into life and other issues. Luckily I had stopped at a good point, unfortunately I had to figure out some things before I could get back on the horse.

Now, I have run into a couple other issues. Luckily I had some things I had set up previously. Keeping track of characters and personalities is difficult. Especially if you have some minor conflict between a bunch of them. A program I ran across a couple years ago was “Zim Wiki“. Think of it as a wikipedia for your computer. I have several story universes mapped out in mine already. Not to mention plot points, characters, settings and what have you. Which reminds me, I have to update it a bit. Organizing a story bible as you go makes things easier when you are writing into the dark.

Another thing is maps. Do you need maps? Well it depends I guess. Some locations and settings don’t really need much of maps and action and story can cover very little ground. Other times though, where the hell did I leave my characters again? It’s hard when they are lost, it’s even worse when you lose them and try to find them. If you are dealing with a made up world, quick sketches could help out as you flesh things out. Maybe, and probably a good thing. Nothing needs to be concrete or cartographer level approach. Just a basic guideline to track travels.

Luckily for me “FoD” takes place in the real world so I can use online maps. Google Maps has a “My Maps” app that you can create routes, place points of interest, or even set boundaries of where your action is. This is something I did over a year ago. Now I have to go into it and set up routes and locations for actions and plot points. Will I share it to the wild? Most likely not, or if I do, a highly bawlderized version.

Anyway, Fall of Dust is out to the beta readers and I should be hearing back from them soon. After that, publication will happen soon. Now to finish book two and start working on book three. I have that many ideas for the series so far. Will there be more after that? Well, muse willing…..

Struggling…

It’s been a busy year. Especially dealing with work outside of home. Unfortunately I haven’t been writing as much as I need or want to and have to figure out how to squeeze it in between early shifts, pre-schooler tantrums, and other tasks.

That being said, a book I finished last year is off to a few beta readers to find errors and issues before being released. Cover art is done by myself because I can’t really afford semi-professional services. As well I have been learning how to create ebooks with various Linux programs. Learning as I go and I think I have managed to create a clean book that way at least.

Now the fun thing is that the book that is done is a first book of a series. Two books planned currently. Book two is almost done and I know where book three is going to go. The trick is sitting down and cranking out the words. Just need to get to that step again.

I will probably be starting back with some short stories for a bit to get myself in the groove again. I can’t quit now, there’s too much for me to say and do. So until next time.

Here’s the cover I managed to work on for “A Fall of Dust”.¬† Enjoy.

FallofDust-F

Goals

Oooooh Aaaaah, Wonderful

So, today is January first. Start of a new year. Last year was a roller coaster in regards to a lot of things. A lot of personal things happened, all ending on a good note at least. Writing though has suffered due to the personal stuff. Mind you that should have been expected.

So, I am setting goals for the new year. Things I need to accomplish and work on. First, I need to sit down and carve out writing time. Then plant my butt in a chair and hammer out words. What to write? Well, I will let my muse guide me. Second, finish the book I wrote last year (no, not the NaNoWriMo one, that one is going to have to wait), and get it out into the wild. It’s close to being finally finished, just a little spackle and it’s done. Third, work on my skills. That’s it. No timelines, no major “I want/need”, just get small stuff done. Of course, once I get the first book finished and released I have to get back to the second one, and then the third. So there we have it.

I need to do this or otherwise all the time I have invested is a waste. Stay tuned and I may share progress.

(note, picture is one of my own that I took a long time ago as in November 2011..)

It’s Over

So, today is December the first and NaNoWriMo is over and done. I failed…in a sense that is. I only achieved forty thousand words in my project. Combinations of early mornings, work, and dealing with life are part of the reason. As well, I started struggling with the manuscript and story near the end. So, I will hang my head in shame that I didn’t write the fifty thousand words.

Is it a total failure? No, not at all. I have now a story that needs to be finished and I will try to work on it going forward. I may have to put it in the drawer until I can figure out where it’s going. It’s going to be a long book when it’s done though, so there’s that. The whole goal with the past month was to kick start my writing again that has languished after I had moved and was dealing with all manner of things.

Where to now? Well, I may look back at a couple of stories that have been poking at me that need finishing as well. I have been failing at Rule #2 of Heinleins rules (You must finish what you write). So, time to go back and finish some things and work my way forward.

Remember everytime you fall down it’s only a disaster if you don’t pick yourself up. So I am standing back up and moving forward. In the meantime a small excerpt from “The Sleeping Kings”. Enjoy.

Norman took the bedraggled looking cigar out of his mouth and tossed it into a nearby garbage can. He reached into his back pocket and pulled out a small tube and deftly removed another cigar. He bit of the end and popped it into his mouth. From his other pocket he pulled out a zippo and lit it with deep short draws.

“Ah, that’s better. Damn laws saying I can’t smoke in my own store.” He wandered over to a switch panel and pushed a button, activating an overhead exhaust fan. “Now, Mr. Black, you said you wanted my special armor, right?”

“Of course, nothing but the best for my employees. Especially if they are going to be put in potential harms way.”

“Mighty considerate of you,” Norman said between puffs of smoke. “How much does your ’employee’ know?”

“At the moment, not much. I am figuring that will change soon enough. He’s pretty sharp considering your initial view of him.”

“Alright, I won’t go into details then,” Norman wandered over to a bench and pulled a roughed out vest that looked a little thicker then a fleece vest. Although it had a bit more heft and looked smoother. “Right, one of my specials here. Guaranteed to stop anything up to a .45, maybe even a 5.56mm. Won’t do nothing over anything larger in rifle cartridges though.”

Chuck looked at it with a critical eye, “Little thin for that much protection isn’t it?”

Norman grinned around the cigar in the corner of his mouth, “Like I said, one of my specials. These suckers take time and special materials to make. Would be worth a king’s ransom back in the day. Still might be if you could ransom a king. Don’t sell them to just anybody. Takes a good year or so to make enough material for just one vest.”

“A year,” Chuck exclaimed. “What’s it made of? Diamond fiber?”

“What do you know about diamond fiber,” Norman said glaring at Chuck.

“Ummm, nothing really. Just something that popped into my head is all. Might have read about it somewhere maybe?”

“Well, anyway a good guess, but no. Not diamond fiber. I won’t go into details because it’s a personal process that I am not going to try getting a patent on. Here, try it on for size.” Norman threw the incomplete vest at Chuck who managed to catch it.

The vest was heavier than it looked. Yet not too heavy. He pulled it on and looked for a way to fasten it. No fasteners yet it seemed. It just hung on his shoulders loosely at the moment. Chuck moved around a bit trying to get a sense of it and was impressed.

“Not bad, and it’s as good as you say?”

“Not just as good, probably better. I try to under sell the bloody things so the people wearing it don’t think their invincible. Now come over here so I can get an idea of what I need to do to get it to fit properly.”

Chuck braved the cloud of cigar smoke swirling around Norman who went to work pulling and tightening and making marks on the vest with a piece of chalk.

“Right, I need you to take the vest off and the shirt you’re wearing. I am not remiss to thinking that this will be going under a shirt or suit,” Norman said to Mr. Black.

“You wouldn’t be. As well I need it to be metal free if possible. Just in case we need to go through metal detectors.”

“Shit, that’s a given. Got just the fasteners for that too. Right. You said you expect this tub of lard to lose weight?”

“I do, and he should if he follows through with my directions I have already given him.”

“Okay tub, what was your battle weight when you left the army.”

Chuck kept his thoughts to himself over the insults and answered coldly, “two hundred pounds. Had a thirty six inch waist if that helps.”

“Expect to get that low and small again? Don’t be shy, this is fucking important for the fight and sizing adjustments.”

“Yeah, I can do it. If not in a month maybe two months depending on what I do.”

Norman grunted, “Good I can work with that. Okay you can take it off and put it on the bench. Do you need it right away? Cause if you do it ain’t happening.”

Mr. Black sighed deeply, “No we don’t need it immediately, and I am aware of what you do. How soon do you think?”

Norman took the cigar out of his mouth and used it as pen and did some sketching in the air and muttering under his breath. To Chuck, it seemed as if there was numbers and letters forming in the air in front of Norman. He shook his head and all he saw was eddies of smoke. He narrowed his eyes as if trying to see better on a bright day and briefly caught another glimpse. His head started to hurt so he stopped trying.

“Right,” Norman said, taking another draw on his cigar, “going to be two weeks to get it fully formed and together. That good?”

“Perfectly acceptable,” Mr. Black answered. “Now do you need anything else?”

“Nah, I will send you the bill. Usual payment method and delivery. Now get your asses out of here. I got work to do. You know the way out.” Norman turned back to the bench and stared at the vest. Effectively dismissing Chuck and Mr. Black. Black grabbed Chucks attention silently with a tilt of his head and proceeded back to the door to the shop. Chuck followed behind him closing the door between the store front and the shop after he went through it.