A Story A Month

As I stated before, I give my Patreon patrons a short story every month.  I just posted this month’s story:

A single sock missing from the wash – the source of universal frustration and untold family bickering.

Justine never gave thought to what happened to those missing socks, and where they went. Until the day her mother sent her into the basement to change a load of laundry, and she learned the unbelievable truth behind it all.
It’s a little goofy, but it’s fun.  So go on over and become a patron, and then you can get this and every other story I post up.  Because I love you and want you to be happy.
🙂

Fitness Update

Hi guys!

I’ve got some exciting announcements to make, but I’ll save them for tomorrow.  For today, I’d like to check back in and discuss how things have been going in the fitness realm.

In a word: great.

I’m down 12 pounds since Christmas time.  That’s quite a bit faster than I intended; I set my daily calorie target in MyFitnessPal for a 1.5 lb/week loss, but what can I say?  Most days I’ve been coming in below that target, and I’ve been PTing quite a lot as well.  So instead I’m doing a bit more that 2 lb/week.  I’ll take that.  🙂

I’m also getting my pace back.  If you recall it’s been over a year since I was running consistently.  I’ve been taking it slow, because heel pain has started flaring up again, predominantly in my right heel.  So I’ll run and then take a couple days off, keeping it to shorter distances.  I found last week that running two days in a row produced…poor results.  🙁  Anyway, before my various injuries, my fastest 5k time (that I can recall) was 23:48.  I’ve got myself down to 26:26 now.  Not awesome, but not too far off my previous peak.  So that’s going well.

I’m also slowly getting better at boxing and jujitsu, and that’s wicked fun.  The guys at the gym are like, “Dude, you’re really slimming down!”  Yes.  Yes I am.

I’ve also been lifting, of course.  I brought my weights way down, to work my way back into it again, and I’ve been using the 5×5 strategy.  For transparency’s sake, here’s what I was lifting in my latest workouts:

  • Bench: 185 lbs
  • Squat: 225 lbs
  • Deadlift: 235 lbs
  • Overhead Press: 115 lbs
  • Standing Barbell Row: 130 lbs

I also do pull-ups during each session (at least 5 sets of 5, assisted with a band so I can get more reps in), and vigorously punch my heavy bag in between each set to keep my heart rate up.

Now, I agree those squat and deadlift weights are pretty bad.  In my defense, over the years I had almost completely neglected squat work, and never did any work on dead lifts at all until 2015 before I got injured.  Now, that’s a piss-poor defense, but there it is.  Still, I don’t find squatting 225 lbs particularly challenging (way back halfway through in High School, as a scrawny little guy, I maxed 260 lbs; I’m certain I can do that and more now).  The deadlift is tougher, but still I’m nowhere near failure while lifting that weight.  But as I said, I started light so as to not hurt myself and to focus on technique.

The 5×5 plan is to increase by 5 lbs each week, so very quickly I’ll be up to respectable weights in those areas.

That said, I am concerned by my lack of Power Rack as my squat weight gets larger and larger.  Losing it with 225 lbs would be bad enough without something to catch the bar.  Losing it with 300+ in six months’ time without a bar could be catastrophic.  I’m also going to have to get more plates: I have 310 lbs of plates now, but that will become insufficient before long.  So looks like I need to save up for new toys.

Poor me.

So that’s what’s up in the fitness realm.  Writing update, and announcements, in the next post.

Yeah, I Need Deadlines

Next month, I’m attending the annual Anthology Workshop that Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch put on each February in Oregon.  Basic premise of the workshop is they have several editors attending, and the writers are given assignments to write stories for 6 upcoming anthologies: 2 stories in December, 4 in January, one week to write each story.  Then we all send each other our stories and we all read them.  The editors read all the stories as well, and then at the workshop each editor tells why he or she liked or didn’t like each story, and then selects the stories he or she will buy for his or her anthology.  The anthologies are then published by WMG in the Fiction River series.

It’s a pretty cool deal.  I was going to attend the workshop last year, but I had to cancel because of changing work schedules for the Navy.  Not so this year: the schedule is set, my leave is approved, and I am going!

This week was the 5th assigned story.  Just like the other 4, I got it in before the deadline.  Just one more story to go, then the reading commences.

But here’s the thing.  I didn’t even start this story until about noon today, but I cranked it out (3,400 words) and had it in to Dean before 4pm.  I could have started it earlier in the week.  Should have, even.  But…I didn’t.  I did a lot of other things this week, but not that.

3,400 words for the day is pretty decent.  It’s far from the most words I’ve ever written in a day, though (I think that record is about 9,000 or so, but it’s been a while so I could be off a bit).  Now, what’s stopping me from writing that many every day?  Well, going to work for the Navy, working out, time with the kids and wife.  You know, real life.  But still, given I write between 1,500 and 2,000 words/hour, there really is not good reason why I can’t get at least 1,000 per day.

Right?

Reflecting back, I got all the stories written, on time, for last year’s anthology workshop as well, before I had to pull out.  I then promptly failed to get much other writing done in the year until the fall, when the deadline for Blaze‘s anthology loomed near.

Here we have yet another data point that I simply must have external deadlines, or i will slack the hell off.  That’s why I set up my Patreon page: another deadline that I have to make.

Going forward, I’m going to look for more ways to set external deadlines for myself – hard deadlines that I cannot just push arbitrarily.  So, I suppose I’d best start putting titles up on pre-order.  Can’t move the release date (with Amazon at least), and if you miss the deadline for uploading the final manuscript there are serious consequences from the bookstores, to say nothing about from the readers.

And I’m also going to work on methods to kick myself in the tail to just sit down and write.  Because, seriously, there’s no excuse to not have production.  The real question is how to do that, effectively and consistently.  The answer is simple, of course: discipline and accountability.

Clearly I need to alter my process to force more of the later, to help myself regain some of the former.  And I’m going to, so I can make 2017 a really awesome writing and publishing year.

🙂

That’s all for now, folks.  Until next time!

My Letter To Congress

I decided to write my Congresswoman and Senators tonight.  Because.

Since I feel like sharing, here is the text of that email.

Hello Congresswoman,

I’m a legal resident of your district, though I currently live in CA because the Navy stationed me here. I’m writing to share a Civil Rights proposal that is probably 15 years overdue, and I hope you’ll seriously ponder it.

After 9-11, there was serious discussion about how to deal with airline security. That discussion has been revisited now because of the Ft Lauderdale shootings. Back in 2001, there was a proposal that could only be called common sense, but evoked much hand-wringing and gnashing of teeth: why don’t we permit pilots to carry guns in the cockpit? If memory serves, eventually, after much demagoguing on both sides, this provision was put into law. I have no idea how many pilots actually carry, but frankly I feel better that they do.

Aside from that, every other provision that we as a nation took was not only nonsensical but arguably against both the letter and spirit of the Constitution and the nearly millennium-old traditions of British common law from which our system sprung. No one can seriously argue that the TSA is anything other than security theater and a jobs program, but we permit this agency to treat every person in the country as a suspect, and force us to submit to searches without probable cause to think we have committed, or are going to commit, a crime, just because we wish to exercise our natural and Constitutional rights to travel and engage in commerce.

This is more than absurd: it is a travesty, a usurpation in the worst degree. And it is a flagrant violation of the 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 14th Amendments to the US Constitution.

But what about security?

That is a legitimate concern. It is also one that can be addressed without treating every citizen as a criminal and spitting on our long-standing traditions and legal framework. Instead of the massive drain on the public coffers and the vivisection of the Constitution the TSA represents, I propose the following:

Allow all citizens who have a valid concealed carry permit, issued by any State in the Union, to carry his or her gun onto the plane, with the caveat that said weapon can only be loaded with frangible rounds of a type that Air Marshals use.

I know. This is an appalling proposal! How dare I even suggest it!

Consider this. Had we honored the US citizens’ natural and Constitutional right to keep and bear arms while they engaged in their natural and Constitutional right to travel on 9-11, and said citizens had been armed on, say, Flight 93, how different would that result have been?

It is impossible to know for sure, because counterfactuals are unprovable, but certainly the odds of a better outcome could only have improved.

But the Air Marshals might think the citizen is a bad guy and shoot him instead!

That is a risk. But considering the number of Air Marshals compared with the number of flights per day, that risk is small. Then again, if armed citizens can provide security on the plane (they have every incentive to do so as long as we don’t remove their ability to do so), why would we need Air Marshals? Perhaps this is (yet another) place we can trim the fat from the Federal Budget.

Please take some time and really think on this proposal.

Given the bill currently under consideration in the House to require national concealed carry reciprocity, and the widespread support it is gaining both in political circles and with the public, I think perhaps this is the right time to consider lifting the restrictions we have placed on Americans’ Civil Rights on airplanes as well.

Thank you for your time, and for the time of your staffers who are reading this (assuming it’s not a bot doing it – perhaps I’m being a tad cynical there, yes? 😉 ).

Best Wishes

Too much?

Not hardly enough, I think.  I have no illusions that the Congresswoman of Senators will actually read the note, or that anything will come of it.  But DAMN IT!  Especially residing in California as I am now, I am sick and tired of being treated like a criminal and having my natural rights stomped on just so some douchebag politicians can assuage their egos.

Whether or not concealed carry gets allowed on planes, one thing is for certain: the TSA needs to go.  It needs to go 15 years ago.

And then the entire Dept of Homeland Security needs to follow it.  It was an abomination when proposed, and has only grown worse over the years.  Get rid of it.

Zero chance this will happen.  But it would be nice if it did, because freedom.

You’ve Got To Be Kidding Me

I listen to a lot of podcasts and audiobooks.  Have done since….2005? There abouts.  That’s for podcasts, anyway.  Audiobooks, I came to later.  The first I can think of that I listened to was “Playing for Pizza” by John Grisham.  It’s MUCH different from his other lawyer novels, a great fun story about a pro football player who moves to Italy to play there.  He spends an entire chapter describing the various courses of an italian dinner – holy cannoli!

My mom gave me and my wife that book on disc as a gift, and we listened to it in the car as we drove from Maine to DC back in early 2008.

I didn’t really look into audiobooks again until 2010 or so, when I was stationed in upstate New York.  I was 8.5 miles from work, so I decided I would just ride my bicycle to and from work (when it was warm enough anyway).  To pass the time on wheels, I listened to podcasts, but I quickly decided to try out audiobooks too.  Fell in love.

I now listen to either an audiobook or a podcast any time I am driving, riding my bike, running, or working out.  Other people run or lift to music – I listen to a book.

As I said, I’ve been doing podcasts for longer, and I listen to a lot of them.  One that I’ve listened to consistently since about early 2011 when I was just getting into this writing gig is Mur Lafferty‘s “I Should Be Writing”.  I’ve never met Mur in real life, and I’ve only read a little bit of her work.  But I like her show and, from what I can tell of her from the show I think I’d like her in person.  I’m pretty sure we have extremely different views on a number of matters, but she seems to genuinely be a good person and I certainly appreciate how open she is on her show about her own struggles as she goes forward.  So I always “tune in” when she has a new show ready for the download.

That said, as I was listening to her latest show, #369, I would have choked from shock had I been eating or drinking something.  At about minute 33:30 in the first interview, she asked the guy why he wasn’t putting out some of his older work.  His answer, and I shit you not, was that he couldn’t because his contract forbids him from putting out any novels, anywhere, until the third book in his series is published.  Furthermore, he cannot even submit a book to anyone until the 3rd book is submitted and accepted.

Seriously, listen to it for yourself.

Dude just, apparently cheerfully, signed away his career, completely, for at least three to four years.  And I’ll guaran-damn-tee he got only a pittance for it.

I was utterly shocked.  Literally shouting at my cell phone as I drove, saying something along the lines of, “What the fuck is wrong with you?”

Dude justified it by saying that MacMillian 100% would not negotiate that point.  And Mur just said yep as though hey that’s how it is and what are you gonna do.

What are you gonna do?  How about you get someone with some negotiation skills to act on your behalf to get that shit out of the contract!  But if they really won’t budge on it (and I am extremely doubtful that is the case – more likely his agent couldn’t care enough to try, or wasn’t competent enough to know why it makes a difference), WALK THE HELL AWAY.  And if no one else will offer a deal without that sort of jackassery in it, just publish the damn thing yourself.

I know I shouldn’t be flabbergasted, but I am.  I mean, I’ve spent a lot of time over the last six years learning about the publishing business and how to not be a sucker.  And I have a tendency to assume others are as, for lack of a better term, curious as I am.  And I’ve been around so many savvy indie writers that it seems natural that others will follow suit.

Apparently not.

This dude seriously needed to have read Dean and Kris‘ blogs before he went for that contract.

Too late now, though.  He’s screwed.

Royally.

Don’t be that guy, folks.

*shudder*

I’m on Team Jacob

I’ve never read the Twilight books, but I’ve been curious for a long time.  Both from a professional point of view and from a personal one.  Professionally, because holy shitballs, Batman, did she make a lot of money from those books!  Personally because I always love a good story, and if these books sold that many copies and have that many rabid fans, they must be awesome, and that makes me want to see what all the fuss is about.

I’ve read (ok, listened to) all the Sookie Stackhouse books.  But for whatever reason, not Twilight.

Maybe it’s because so many people (who wish they were as awesome as Stephany Meyer) make fun of them.  I could say no, it’s because of lack of time.  But I had the time for the others, so that’s a BS argument.  Really, I wasn’t all that interested.  And the mockery didn’t help

But I was curious, so I occasionally toyed with renting the movies.  In fact, my wife had also expressed curiosity.  But we didn’t do anything about it, until this week.

The other day, she declared that we were renting and watching Twilight.  So…we did.

I had some issues with actions the characters took, and was forced to roll my eyes in several places.  But you know what?  Despite that, I rather liked it.  The story pulled me in.  It pulled both of us in, and our daughter too (she’s 9).  So we watched the sequel, and then the third.  We haven’t watch the two-parter of the conclusion yet, and I’m sure I’m missing a lot from not having actually read the books.

That said, I’ve come to a few conclusions.  The most important is this: Edward is not just a creepy dude (I recall Dean once described Twilight as the story of a hundred-year-old man taking advantage of a sixteen year old girl.  And you know what, that’s 100% right.  In a way), but he’s freaking pathetic.  “I can’t stand to live in a world without you in it!”…but he refuses to take the one step that would ensure Bella never leaves it.  “You’re my only reason for living!”

Gah!  It’s beyond cringeworthy to being an absolute gag-fest.  Only a teenage girl could find such slobbering obsequiousness appealing.  Except in reality, most of the time they hate it, too.

And it’s not just that.  The dude has no personality, just one constant mope after another.  He’s not fun.  Hell, he can’t even fight all that well.

Truly, Edward sucks.

Jacob, on the other hand, is in shape, fun, bold.  Yeah, he’s a bit excessively fawning as well, but at least he’s assertive about it.  And…damnit, he’s masculine.  On no planet does a guy like Edward get the girl over a guy like Jacob unless he’s rich.

Plus, the werewolf pack is cool and fun.  They kid around with each other and with their friends, they’re vibrant and alive.  Whereas the Cullens, and really the vamps in general, are dull.  No fun, no nothing.

And…seriously.  Why in THE HELL would the Cullens spend all their time in freaking High School, of all places?  I mean, High School sucks, and they are all at least a hundred years old.  They can’t think of any place better to be?

Well, I guess there is that.

Oy.

Yeah, it’s an easy pick who I’d want to hang with.

I’m on team Jacob, lost cause though it may be.

Meet The Garage Gym

Last post, I bemoaned the physical slide I’ve taken over the last year.

Not shifting blame, it’s all my fault.

But I’m taking steps to change it, and I figured I’d take a minute to share what I’m doing.  Maybe it’ll help some of you guys.  Or maybe you’ll just find it interesting.  Or maybe not.  Regardless, this is my place and I get to share what I want, so here goes.

😉

It’s been two and a half weeks since I got back to running regularly.  Recall that the Doctors told me not to run at all due to my plantar fasciitis.  Instead, I should do these various exercises they gave me, which did jack squat.

You’d think that disregarding medical advise, saying screw it, and hitting the pavement would make things worse, right?

Nope.

As of today, the fasciitis is almost totally gone.  Yeah, I had some pain when I first got up this morning, but it was more ankle joint pain in my right foot than heel pain.  I’m officially calling BS on the Doctors’ prescription for fasciitis and liking my own.  I’m just pissed at myself for taking almost a year to do it.  Grrr…

I’ve not just been running, though.  I’ve also been going on walks with the kids to hunt Pokemon (my kids love Pokemon Go.  Aw hell, I love it too, who am I kidding?), so that’s a great excuse to get them outdoors.

And I’ve been lifting again, and training at a local MMA gym.

Key elements of my regime are my garage gym, my MMA gym, and the Christmas present from my wife: the Garmin Vivoactive HR.  I’ve already talked about the MMA gym, but the other two deserve discussion.

Let’s talk about my gym first.

When we first bought this house, I brought with us the heavy bag (75 lbs) I’ve had since…2004, I think.  I’ve always hung it up, but honestly got varying degrees of use out of it.  Same thing applies here.  I hung it up, but only sporadically used it.  Since I started up at the MMA gym with the boxing coach, though, I’ve changed that.  Now it gets pounded regularly.

There it is.

Then, a couple years ago, when I was getting ready to deploy in support of Naval Special Warfare, I decided I really was tired of sucking at pull-ups.  I found some tips online about how to build your own pull-up bar, so I installed one.

I got some good use out of that bar, and by the time I deployed I wasn’t a complete embarrassment anymore.  At least, not in the pullup area, anyway.  😉

A year ago, after I got back from deployment and when I was lifting all the time, I thought hard about buying a Power Rack, a bench, and a bunch of weights.  That would have cost $1,000-1,500 at the minimum.  Lucky for me, around that same time one of my wife’s friends was getting sick of her husband never using his weight set, so they offered it to us for free.  I accepted.

It’s not exactly the king of equipment, and it lacks some of the safety of a Power Rack, but it works for benches, squats, and most of the other things I could want to do.  And the price was right.  🙂  I’d like to get a better weight tree and some more plates, but for the time being it’s got what I need.

Finally, my as my wife’s gotten more into strength training as opposed to just running, she’s fallen in love with the TRX.  So we installed one of those, too.

I built that wooden box for my wife, so she can more easily reach the pullup bar, and so she can do plyometric jumping things off of it.  I’ve ended up using it as well.

You can also see my bike against that wall there, too.  She’s a Cervelo S2, and she’s super awesome.  I have GOT to get out on her more this year.

So that’s the garage gym.

I’ll do another post later today or tomorrow about the Garmin.  This one is long enough already, I think.

For now, what do y’all think?  Not too shabby, eh?

Excuses and Excuses

Hey, look!  2016’s over!

And wow, from a writing perspective, I accomplished just a little bit more than jack squat.

The year actually started out pretty well.  In January, I cranked out a bunch of short stories for Dean and Kris‘ anthology workshop, just in time for the Navy to change my schedule so that I couldn’t attend it.  Then I hunkered down and maintained a daily log of writing output as I got going on The Falconer’s Stairs, the next Glimmer Vale Chronicles book.  I also got started on a new Space Navy series, but after a few chapters decided to stop until GV 5 was done.  And it was going pretty well, for the most part.  I even commissioned cover art before I finished it, with a deadline of my intended release date, as an added motivator to git ‘r done.

Then I went on travel to Japan for a couple weeks for the Navy.  I intended to write a ton while I was there, but as tends to happen in Japan, instead I enjoyed the country and the company of my Navy compadres.  That can be forgiven, I guess.

What can’t be forgiven is the absolute lack of writing over the summer and first part of the fall.  I can claim busy-ness, and that’s true to an extent.  But really I wasn’t focused.  The Falconer’s Stairs has been sitting at about 80% done for a while.  And the Space Navy book…no progress there either.

Basically, in 2016 I sucked as a writer

On the bright side, I got invited into an anthology that’s being edited by my buddy, and awesome writer in his own right, Blaze Ward.  It’s a super-hero themed collection, something that I hadn’t done before, so I was able to stretch my limbs a bit.  The story was due on 1 December, and I got 15,000 words done in about a week and got it to him on time.  He liked the story a lot.  So do I.  All the same, I’m pretty sure there are some who will be…put off…by its content and main character.  We’ll see.  More to follow as the release approaches.  He’s aiming for late Spring.

I’ve also re-commenced with stories for this year’s Anthology Workshop, which I actually will be able to attend (no Navy conflicts this time!).  Got two done in December, and there will be four more to do in January (one per week).  The December stories were 4,500 and 4,700 words, respectively.  The assignment for this week is 3,000-6,000 words.  Shouldn’t be too hard.

I also submitted to Writers of the Future each quarter.  Got two Honorable Mentions and a Silver Honorable.  Thing is, those were all stories I had written earlier, namely last January for the anthology workshop.

So what does all that mean?  I certainly CAN get the words out.  But I clearly need external deadlines of some sort, or I tend to let myself slack off.  Basically I’m a lazy bastard.

You can see that on the physical side of me as well.

A year and a half ago, I got back from deployment.  Unlike my previous deployments, this one was not on a submarine but a surface ship.  Consequently, I worked out pretty much every day – Insanity, weights, you name it.  When I came back, I looked like this:

Yeah, I didn’t have a six-pack, but I looked pretty good and I got a hell of a tan from 7 months in the tropics.  I also had developed an even greater taste for lifting than I had before.  A good thing, right?  🙂

I came back and continued lifting, and running, and all the great things that keeps one looking good.  I trained for a marathon in Santa Barbara, that I was going to run last year in November.

Then, in September, I broke my toe.

That killed my training for a few weeks.  But no worries, I was going to gut it out and do the marathon – except it got cancelled.  Ok well, I can still lift, right?  Then I injured my shoulder.  Come December, my foot was fully healed, so I started running again.  And then in January, I broke another toe – in the other foot.  And my shoulder still hurt.  Turns out I had an impingement – a minor almost dislocation that I was going to need physical therapy for.  Well no worries, my foot’s almost healed and I can run again.  And then….plantar fasciitis.  Every attempt at running resulted in wicked heel pain the next day, and for several days later

ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?????

Seriously, I turned 40 and went straight to hell physically.

So I stopped running, and basically doing anything except physical therapy.  The shoulder got better, but the heels didn’t.  Meanwhile, I kept up the same diet I had been, and indulging in more beer and wine than I should have, considering my changed physical activity…

Did I switch to bicycling, which I used to do a lot but had gotten away from?  Of course not.  That would take effort, and all those injuries gave me a great excuse not to just slack off.

Long story short, I gained almost 20 pounds.  In a year.  Disgusting.

So 2016 was basically a year of slacking and excuses, and overall bleah.

It wasn’t a total loss, though.  A couple months back I got sick of slacking, joined an MMA gym, and got working on my boxing skills.  Jujitsu and kickboxing too, but I’ve primarily been focusing on boxing so far.  Those who know me know I’ve spent a lot of time over the years training in karate, kung fu, and tai chi.  But it had been a while since I found a dojo that I really liked, and that wasn’t, for lack of a better word, cheesy.  So many don’t allow contact in sparring, or only play-act the practical stuff.  That is unsatisfying and not especially challenging.  The complete lack of finding a good school left me dejected so I essentially gave up for a couple years.  But I knew I needed to make a change so I said screw it, go with boxing.  That’s when I found this particular gym.  I had heard good things about the MMA world, so why not?

Good move.  The boxing coach in the gym makes his living training championship and professional-level people.  Apparently he just comes to this gym as a fun way of paying it forward.  Suffice it to say I’ve learned a lot from him so far, enough to know how seriously lacking in fighting skills I had been up to this point.

So that’s good.

I’ve also decided to stop being a wimp and get back to lifting.  And back to running.  Screw the aching heels, just do it.  And you know what?  As I’ve been working back into it, the heel pain has gotten less, where all those exercises and whatnot that the Docs and PT people said to do did precisely jack squat.

Combine that with the Christmas present from my wife – a Garmin Vivoactive HR wearable watch/GPS/activity tracker.  This thing is great.  I used to use the MapMyRide app on my iphone to track everything – a great buy at $1.99.  But this thing goes more in depth and is easier because it’s right there on the wrist, and it makes cool graphs.  And the Garmin Connect software interfaces with UnderArmor’s MyFitnessPal to track calories consumed and burned, making diet management a snap.

So I’m psyched to get back on the physical horse in 2017.

I’m also psyched to get back on the writing horse.  This month is the four stories for the anthology workshop, and finishing up The Falconer’s Stairs (finally).  Then it’s over to the Space Navy books.  I think those are going to be awesome, and y’all will like them.

That still leaves the problem of deadlines, though.  I’ve decided to tackle that in two ways.

  1. I’m going to get The Falconer’s Stairs up on Amazon and elsewhere for pre-order, for full release early March.  The way Amazon works, you have to have the final manuscript uploaded 10 days prior to release, and you can’t move the release date, or they punish you hard.  So that’s a deadline to work to.
  2. I’m going to do similar things with the Space Navy books, and others I’m doing in the future.  No more nebulous target dates without consequences if I miss the mark.
  3. I set up a Patreon account.  (I know, I know, asking for money when you just admitted to being a slacker?  Hear me out)  The goal of the Patreon account is to give myself another deadline to meet – namely a short story every month for the patrons.  And to get another stream of income going, of course.  But that’s ancillary to the deadline, really.  So if you have the willingness to slip a brother a buck or two a month, head on over and make a pledge.

Between those three things, I hope to satisfy my need for deadlines.

Here’s what I want to get done in 2017:

  1. Publish The Falconer’s Stairs – March
  2. Complete and publish Warfare Qualified, the first Space Navy book – July
  3. Complete and publish Independent Deployment, the second Space Navy book – October
  4. Complete the third Space Navy book by the end of the year
  5. Submit to Writers of the Future every quarter
  6. Write updates here (much) more often
  7. Provide lots of content for the Patreon patrons

I also need to (finally) finish the sequel to Masters of the Sun.  And a sequel to The Pericles Conspiracy.  Problem with the former is there is no demand for it, even though I know where it needs to go and have written a fair chunk of it.  Problem with the second is there is demand, but I have no idea where it’s going at all.  I never intended there to be a sequel; only reason I’ve started one is the demand for it.  So it’s a longer-term work in progress at this point.

The Space Navy books, on the other hand…  Well, I’ll tell you more in another post.  This one has gone on too long already.  It’s practically a book in and of itself.

So that’s where I stand.  Hope all y’all had a happy and festive Holiday season.  I know I did.  Now it’s back to the grind.

Happy New Year, everybody!

Off Armageddon Reef

I’ve heard for a while how awesome David Weber’s books are.  The Honor Harrington series in particular is often remarked upon.  In fact, a couple months ago, a friend of mine asked if I had read any of his books, and I was forced to reply, “No, but I have On Basilisk Station and it’s next on my to be read list.”

And that was true.

Fast forward.  I finished listening to Aristotle’s “Rhetoric, Poetics, and Logic” on audiobook, and I was looking for which book to “read” in audio next (since I’m still in the middle of the final book in Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn series in actual text-reading).  I saw that I had “Off Armageddon Reef“, by David Weber, in my audio book library, and I queued it up.

Somehow, I transposed the titles of the two books, “On Basilisk Station” and “Off Armageddon Reef“, in my head, and as the first few chapters of “Armageddon Reef” went by I was wondering how and when Honor Harrington was going to come into play, considering that Safehold is a planet whose people were once star-farers but now are no longer.  It was only after I went back to Amazon to check the titles that I realized my mistake.

Of course, the story of Safehold was compelling enough that I stuck with it…and boy am I glad I did.

As all of you know, I’m a Naval Officer.  In fact, I was commissioned onboard USS CONSTITUTION, and did my first summer on active duty onboard that ship, learning to sail a square-rigged vessel and learning her history and the tales of her many engagements (never defeated).

And so, when it turned out that “Off Armageddon Reef“, though a scifi story, really ended up being a story about Naval warfare in the age of sail….well, there is literally nothing you could do to engage me better than that as a reader.

And boy did it deliver.

GREAT book.  And great depiction of the Naval lifestyle and ethic.

Wow.  Extremely well done.

If you haven’t read this book, you totally need to.  I’m definitely continuing on in this series.

Well done, Mr. Weber.  Well done.

I Was Wrong

Back in December, after watching The Force Awakens, I came away with a theory.  I posted about it here.

When the movie came out on Blu-Ray, we bought a copy because we liked it and we wanted the kids to see it.  I’ve happily shown them the other three Star Wars movies, and the kids all loved them.  So we were eager to see their reaction to the new one.

Of course they loved it.  So we’ve watched it again.  And again.  And again. And…

You get the picture.

With these repeat viewings, a couple things have happened:

  1. I find my objections to the more silly and infuriating parts of the movie have lessened.  Yes, Rey is a total Mary Sue who got way too powerful way too fast for no good reason.  And yeah a lot of the fan service is cheesy.  And yeah it makes the galaxy look like it spans about a hundred meters from one end to the other.  But you know what?  It just gets more fun with each watching.  And some of the things that irked me make a little bit more sense.  So that’s ok.
  2. I’m pretty sure now that my theory, which I was so proud of back in December, is wrong.  Maybe not entirely wrong.  (I’m still thinking it was Snoke, not Ren, who trashed Luke’s school; Ren and his posse just helped, or joined up in the end, or something.)  But wrong enough that I felt the need to come out and say it now, for the record.

We’ll see just how wrong I am when the next one comes out.  In the meantime, Rogue One looks promising, head-scratchingly cliched chick-who-can-beat-up-6-big-tough-guys-at-the-same-time aside.  If it’s done well, even that well-worn cliche can be fun.  And the story looks promising.  So I’m looking forward to that.

So anyway, that’s all I’ve got right now.  I’m going to make it a point to post here more often from now on, because consistency.

Talk to y’all later.  🙂