Instead of Writing…

I’ve been on leave since last Thursday.  You might think I’d be getting a lot of writing done while I’ve not been at work.  But you’d be wrong.  Here’s what I’ve been doing instead.

 

 

Family Room - Before

Family Room – Before

 

 

Family Room - After

Family Room – After

IMG_3015

Kitchen – Before

Kitchen Repaint

Kitchen – Mid-way

Yes, it’s that time-honored festival: the repainting of the house!  With a friendly neighborhood visit from the in-laws as well, of course.  Fun, fun.  The best part has been doing the kitchen cabinets.  A couple mis-steps and a couple arguments later we’ve almost got it.  And a good thing too, because I have to go back to work tomorrow.

So that’s what I’ve been doing instead of writing.  Just figured I’d share.

🙂

Marital Bliss and Other Developments

It’s been well over a week since I last updated the blog here.  No doubt all y’all have been on the edge of your seats wondering what’s become of me.  Well, my half-hearted prediction came true: the business of traveling and the wedding overwhelmed everything else and I was lost in a sea of kids, mothers, aunts, significant others, drunken revelers, and all the others that you would expect at such an event.  It was a pretty good time, even though several times when the better half, the kids, and I walked in, we received blank stares and, “Oh.  We didn’t realize you were coming…with the kids,” followed by a mad scramble to make room, since it seemed there never was enough seating for everyone.  It’s almost as though we hadn’t told anyone we were coming.

Oops.

But wait, it gets better.  Flying back on Tuesday, we were delayed in departing Orlando and thus missed our connection in Phoenix.  So Southwest was kind enough to put us up in a hotel for the night before getting us home Wednesday (yesterday) morning.

But seriously, don’t get the wrong idea.  It was a good trip.  Very good, despite the stress of flying four kids across country.  It’s not every day one’s sister ties the knot, after all, and the ceremony and celebrations were beautiful and tons of fun.  And Florida is a fun place in general.  And for certain the Atlantic is a whole lot more fun to swim in than the Pacific.  Or at least the Pacific along the California coast – can you say freaking cold?  Yeah, I thought you could.

So that’s why there were no chapters while I was gone.  Hardly a surprise, right?  😉  Sorry about that.  I’ll just put the next one up on Saturday and call it even, ok?

Cool.

Speaking of cool, while I was away, three more short audiobooks of mine went live on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes.  These are the next three of my Larian Elesir stories – short stories and novelettes all, and thus quite affordable as audiobooks go.  Just $3.95 apiece (less if you’re an Audible member).  I highly encourage you to check them out, if you’re so inclined.  And of course, if you’re not an Audible member and decide to join and make one of my stories your first purchase, I’ll get a nice hefty “bounty” for your head.  Erm…for your business, I mean.  I think it’s $50 – not too shabby.  So anyway, do go by and have a look.  Nick Mortise read them all and I think he did a great job.  Listening to them put a smile on my face.  And reminded me that I really ought to write more Larian stories because he’s cool and I enjoy him.

So that happened.  Let’s see…what else to put out?  Oh yes.

On Saturday, 31 May, I’m putting The Pericles Conspiracy on sale for $0.99 on Amazon.  Actually, I told Amazon to lower the price just a minute ago, so it’ll probably drop sometime tomorrow, so I’m not late.  You see, I decided to experiment with a paid promotion, and on Saturday Booksends is going to feature Pericles.  So it’ll be $0.99 for the day, then on Sunday it’ll go to $2.99.  Then either Monday or Tuesday, depending on how it’s doing, it’ll return to full price.  So if you’ve had the hankering to check Pericles out but haven’t gotten around to it yet, now’s the time.  Or rather, Saturday’s the time.  Kindly wait until then; hopefully the ad will drive a bunch of folks to purchase it on that day, and the more who do the more ranking boost it’ll get, so…wait until then, if you would.  🙂

So that’s what’s new around here.  Hope all’s well with y’all.  Time to get a little work done, then hit the rack.

Until next time.  🙂

The 2014 Chenin Blanc Incident

I nearly lost a child at noon on Saturday.

 

So there I was, sitting with my littlest with a tasty glass of…Chenin Blanc, I think it was…watch The Voice on Hulu via my laptop, while his bigger siblings did their own thing downstairs on the big TV.  Why The Voice?  I blame Dean.  But that’s neither here nor there.

At some point, I needed to leave the room.  I set the wineglass down and took care of business.  When I got back, the bigger kids were in the room, the 3-year old sitting in my office chair.  I noticed the glass was empty, but didn’t think anything of it.  I must have finished it off, naturally.  So I went downstairs to get a refill.  Came back up, and as I approached the desk (where the other two bigger kids were spinning the 3 year old around and around on my chair), I noticed it: a great big pool of fluid, completely covering the keyboard and trackpad of my laptop.

You know those scenes in movies when a bad thing happens, and the character moves in slow motion, shouting, “Noooooooo…..” to no avail?  Yeah.  That was me.

I dashed over, grabbing up towels from the bed (I had been folding laundry before The Voice) and shoving little kids aside.  Must.  Sop.  Up.  Wine.  But it was not to be.  The screen flickered and went out right as I got there, and despite my best efforts to dry the machine, it had been completely flooded out.

It never started up again.

My 3 year old is lucky to be alive.  As it is, he will never go to College, at least not on my dime.  That little fiasco set me back over $3,000 – the Apple Store examined the laptop the next day (I was stuck at home on Saturday because the Admiral was running a Ragnar Relay with her friends, and had the minivan with her.  There’s not room for all the kids in my Jetta) and determined the logic board was completely hosed, and since I had just outlived my Applecare plan…I ended up buying a new computer instead of paying almost the same amount for a repair – and if you figure time value of money 15 years from now, I figure I just used the money I would have used for his tuition to fix the disaster he caused.

Well. I didn’t really spend almost the same amount as the repair would have been.  My philosophy on computers is to get the most suped-up, whamydine model I can, so it will last for a good long time.  Thus, I got a new Macbook Pro (alas only 15″ as they no longer make 17″, which is what I had before) that’s maxed out on processor, RAM, and Flash drive capacity (since it doesn’t use a hard drive – that’s pretty sweet, but also odd since the thing doesn’t make any noise at all).

Luckily, I had backed the computer up less than a week before this happened.  Also luckily, I didn’t do much writing last week.  So I didn’t really lose anything.  But still, there’s a principle at stake here.

Or something.

Anyway, I’m digging the new “wheels”, so to speak.  But the cash outlay still hurts.

As you can imagine, this is why I didn’t get the Pericles chapter up on Saturday.  I generally do it in the afternoon, and Mr. 3-year old’s evil plot knocked me offline around noon.

*sigh*

So that’s all I have to say about that.  I’ll get the next Pericles chapter posted in a little bit.  Until then, have a nice evening.

🙂

Back in Communication

Well, that took a while.  🙂

So we closed on our new house on Monday of last week.  We were supposed to close the previous Wednesday, but for various reasons that had nothing to do with us the date pushed to the right twice.  Silly seller.  I had an appointment to get internet and DirecTV set up at the new place for the weekend, but when the closing got moved to Monday I had to reschedule it.  DirecTV was cool, and got us hooked up on Tuesday.  The internet company?  No dice until yesterday.

So that’s why I’ve had nothing to say here for the last week and a half or so; I had no ability to do so.

But now I’m back.  I’ll be getting back on schedule with the Pericles chapters and other updates in the next couple days.

My new house rocks, by the way.

Woohoo!

Sprinting Through Week 18

Another week of 2013 down.

I wrote nothing new.  Zip.  Zero.  Nada.  Not even going to show you the graph because there ain’t nothing there.

And that’s ok.

It’s ok because this is actually the first week that I haven’t written anything this year.  And because I was just simply doing other, fun and important, things.  Like finishing Mark Fassett‘s new book, and starting on Rebecca Senese‘s.  Both are friends, and I promised them both feedback, so you gotta do what you gotta do.

But beyond that, I just felt like taking a little break – after finally finishing Pericles, I think that’s an ok thing – and, you know, doing family stuff.

And I ran another triathlon.

But not just me.  You see, a month and a half ago or so, it hit me that the boys from work and I had signed up for the Spring Sprint Triathlon here in San Diego on Cinco de Mayo.  And, of course, Cinco de Mayo is my wedding anniversary.  So I suggested to the better half that maybe she would like to run a triathlon as well, and that unleashed the floodgates.  She thought that was a great idea, and we soon found the the awesome bike shop right around the corner from us has a very affordable (ok, relatively affordable) beginner’s triathlon package.  So we used part of our tax return (and dude, let me tell you, having 4 kids, taking a loss on two side businesses, and having students loans to repay – hers not mine – is great for taxes.  My income tax burden last year, not include FICA, was….wait for it…$95.  It’s good to stick it to the man. 😛 ) and got her hooked up.  She got started training, but as of the end of this week she still was not very confident about her bike, and in particular the clips on her pedals.  So she went to a women’s clinic at the bike shop, and then I took her out riding afterwords, and she felt a lot better.

And then, yesterday, the moment of truth.  Her first triathlon, and my second.

Image 2

Not a bad looking couple there.  I almost look buff in that wetsuit.  😛

Actually, if I can embark on a little tangent here (yeah, like I haven’t already done that), I feel the need to opine about wetsuits for a bit.  I think I mentioned it before, but during my first Triathlon, the swim frankly sucked.  Yeah, I hadn’t trained in the water as much as I should have.  But adding to the issue was my freaking wetsuit.  I just wore the suit I had from my scuba diving days, a decade or more ago.  Yes yes, I know, I can hear the voices already.  Why haven’t you been diving?  Because the diving sucks in upstate NY, it’s bloody cold in Maine, and to get any good diving in and around Charleston, SC you have to go several dozen miles off the coast.  And that’s where I’ve been living since I transferred away from my first submarine, which was in Pearl Harbor (awesome place…duh).  At least until now.  Anyway, getting back to the wetsuit, that old Oceanic suit is awesome. For diving.  But when you’re scuba diving, you kick yourself around.   You’re not exactly swimming freestyle through the waves.  Suffice it to say that suit was not very flexible about the shoulders.  And beyond that, I am a little bit bigger now than I was then, especially about the chest (I can bench quite a bit more now than I could back in my early to mid 20s.  Yes that’s my story and I’m sticking to it) so the suit was a bit tight, which made it hard to breathe.

Clearly, that situation was unacceptable.  Fortunately for me, the folks who put on this weekend’s triathlon had a great deal worked out with Xterra Wetsuits – 60% off!  So I used their coupon  code and ordered Xterra’s top-of-the-line Vector Pro suit, normally $600, for about $260.  And I must say, this wetsuit rocks.  Talk about easy to move around in.  Swimming in that thing is…well, it’s just SO much easier.  On Thursday after work, the better half and I took the kiddos to Mission Bay, here in San Diego.  They love the beach, but hate big waves (the oldest of our kids is 5.  Duh, of course she hates big waves), so the sheltered bay is perfect.  While we were there, I put on the new suit and swum to a little island a couple hundred yards away, and back again.  Like I said: SO MUCH BETTER.

All that pointed toward this race being awesome.  And it was.  I vastly improved my time over the last one (although in honesty I must point out that the overall course was quite a bit shorter than the SEAL Sprint Triathlon, but still I did proportionally better as well, so that’s good), and the better half finished her first Triathlon ever.

Victory!

After the race, we went and got a late breakfast at a local place in Ocean Beach, and then rolled back to our humble abode, here on Point Loma.  I forked over some bucks (ok more than some) to the babysitter and then we had a nice relaxing Sunday, complete with Pollo Asado, a little Battlestar Gallactica, The Amazing Race, and Game of Thrones.  Not a bad Anniversary, if you ask me.  And best of all, the better half agreed.

Victory!

So, that was my week.  Two weeks from now, the boys from work and I are hitting the OC Triathlon, a little ways north of here.  This one is olympic length – 1500m swim, 24ish mile bike, 6.2 mile run.  So about double the distance of these first two.  It promises to be a challenge, and no doubt I will be a hurting unit afterwords.  But I’m looking forward to it.

And yes, I will indeed get some more writing done as well.  Just as soon as I finish Rebecca’s book.

Speaking of which…

On the Outside, Looking In

As you should know (from the About Michael tab), in what passes for real life I am a Lieutenant Commander in the US Navy.  Up until a couple years ago I was a submariner by trade; since then I transitioned into the education and training side of Navy life, as I’ve reached the limit of what I’ll be allowed to do in submarines.  That was a bitter pill to swallow; it would have been cool to Captain my own boat.  But also highly annoying in a lot of ways, most of which spring from Nuclear Power.  Don’t get me started.

That said, I’m still a qualified submariner, still think submarines are awesome, and still like to be around submariners.  Consequently, when I learned that the annual Submarine Birthday Ball was this past weekend, my wife and I cleared out schedule, hired a babysitter, got all fancied up, and went out to the gala.  Fun, fun!

No I'm not trying to choke her.  I just tend to take on weird poses when someone's taking my picture.  Go figure.

No I’m not trying to choke her. I just tend to take on weird poses when someone’s taking my picture. Go figure.

Except…

I’m one of two submarine officers at my command, and the other guy opted not to go.  Aside from him, I know one other submarine guy in San Diego (which is decidedly odd, considering the submarine force is such a small community – there are a total of 5,000 submarine officers on Active Duty, last I checked).  So I sat at the table with people I didn’t know (except for this Australian fellow whom I met a few weeks ago; he’s not a submariner but he opted to come out to have a good time), listened to a speech from an Admiral whom I remembered as sort of a douche from back when he was Commanding Officer of a boat on the waterfront with me when I was a newly minted Junior Officer, watched all the submarine wardrooms from the waterfront hoop and holler and generally have a good old time, and basically felt like a complete outsider.

And in a way, I guess I am.  I wear the dolphins, but I won’t be going to sea on a submarine again.  Which means I’m really not part of the club.  You see, a submarine wardroom is fourteen (plus or minus) guys (including the CO and XO) who spend a ridiculous amount of time together, know each other really well, and at least tolerate each other really well if they don’t actually enjoy each other.  It’s a pretty tight group and oddly enough, I rather miss it.  Seeing all the local wardrooms together, it hit in a way that had not before that I’m really actually done with all that, and I’m really not part of the group.

Oh they won’t tell me to piss off or anything like that.  Bubbleheads stick together.  Mostly.  But there’s a difference between someone who has gone to sea on a boat and someone who is, and will continue to, going to sea on a boat.

Suffice it to say, this Sub Ball was not nearly as fun as others I’ve gone to in the past, primarily for that reason – I wasn’t part of it.  Not really.  Which kind of stinks.

Not sure if I’ll go to another one.

*sigh*

Oh well.  Enough bellyaching.  Back to the fight.

Silence Like A Cancer Grows…

Yeah, I’m feeling a little bit saucy.  Hence the play on Simon and Garfunkel in the title of this post.

It’s been a while since I last posted anything.  And a lot’s happened in the interim.  So why haven’t I talked about it?  Ehh.  Or rather, meh.  No idea.  Didn’t feel like it?  I was doing other things?  Both? 🙂  Regardless, I’m back posting now, so all five of you who come around to read my musings can be happy again.  🙂

So….current events.

  1. I mentioned this before, but what the heck, it bears repeating.  I had another kid!  🙂 Or rather, my wife did.  I delivered him, though.  No, seriously.  When our daughter was born, almost five years ago (her birthday is the 26th), we had her at Wentworth Douglass Hospital in Dover, NH.  They are awesome.  State of the art, progressive (in the good way, not the political/economic way), and just all around cool.  Their birthing center was ridiculously nice, and comfortable, and…  You get the point.  Well, they made a point of letting dads assist in the actual delivery if they wanted, as opposed to them standing back, trying not to get their fingers crushed as their wives squeezed on their hands, and feeling helplessly useless.  So naturally, I was all over helping the midwife pull little Sibylla out when she arrived.  Talk about wicked cool.  For the first two boys, though, the hospital staff essentially gave me the Heisman, except they did let me cut the cord.  Yippee.  Not.  ‘Cause that’s not nearly as cool as doing the delivery.  Well, little Kiran (that the new guy’s name) we had at the Naval Hospital here in San Diego.  When they asked if we wanted anything, I piped up that I wanted to deliver.  And awesome of awesome, they said, “Sure!”  So as soon as the Doc got the head and shoulder positioned right, I got the nod, took hold, and voila!  I got to pull him out.  🙂  And then after the cord blood collection, I played with the placenta a little.  😛  Well…ok, I didn’t play with it.  But dude.  It may be the Engineer and the nerd in me coming out, but seriously, if you’ve never seen a placenta before, you’re missing out.  They are really cool.  😉  So anyway, our clan now consists of 4 kids (I say now, but this happened in the middle of September so it’s not all that recent.  Sorry).  And we’ve decided four is enough, so we took steps to ensure we don’t have to worry about it, if you know what I mean.
  2. Of far less importance, but still cool, I heard back from Writers of the Future regarding my 3rd quarter submission.  Honorable Mention.  Again.  Now that’s pretty cool.  But it makes 3 HMs now.  And granted, this one is from a new judge, since David Farland took over.  But I would really really like to bust over the HM hump into the higher categories, one of these days.  You know: semi-finalist, finalist.  Winner.  Oh well, only one way to do that: keep writing and submitting.  So I guess I’ll go ahead and do that.  🙂
  3. I’m doing NaNoWriMo again.  Last year, if you recall, I wrote Glimmer Vale for NaNo.  I had toyed with writing Glimmer’s sequel this year.  But instead I decided to just crank out short stories.  I did this for a couple reasons.  First, that was what I said I was going to do way back at the beginning of the year.  Second, on the Yahoo Group for writers who have attended Dean and Kris‘ workshops, they have this thing called Club 25 going on: a challenge to epublish 25 titles this yes.  Well I’m currently at ten, but I figured if I could crank out ten 5,000 word stories in November, I could totally catch up.  And three, I kind of fell off the writing wagon for a few months there, between moving to San Diego, settling into the new job, and welcoming a new kid.  I figured NaNo would be a great way to jumpstart myself.  🙂  So…how’s it going?  Well, so far the shorts are all novelettes.  And I’m lagging.  At present I’m something like 9,000 words behind.  So I’m beginning to doubt I’ll get to the 50,000 word mark for the month.  Unless I get a couple 5,600 word days down like I did last year.  Which is possible, so I’m not out of it yet.  🙂  Regardless, I’ll have finished a number of good stories this month so it’ll be a win either way.  And it’s been fun, so that’s what matters.  🙂
  4. I discovered some cool music.  This guy calls himself Miracle of Sound, and he writes songs based on games, movies, you name it.  His songs are quite fun.  I picked out two of my favorites to share with you.  The first is inspired by Skyrim, the second by Dragon Age 2.  Check them out, then go to YouTube and give the guy a like or six; he deserves it.  You can also buy his music from his website, quite reasonably.  
  5. My friend J E Medrick (you may recall I sung her praises for her first novel, Shackled, a while back) released a new novella the other day.  Youth is a great story about a prescription drug that will restore the elderly to youth and vigor, but at a price: everyone who takes Youth dies within a month.  Now, I’ve only read about half of it, because that’s all she sent me.  But it’s a fascinating concept, well executed.  I recommend you check it out.

That’s about it on the news front.  All in all, things are going pretty well.  I’m beginning to think about my goals for next year, and to evaluate how I did this year.  To be brief: not so good.  That writing hiatus in the summer and early fall really did in a number of my goals.  But that’s ok.  Life rolls happen, and these rolls were good ones, so I’m not going to beat myself up.  I am going to change my methodology for next year, though.  Enact a bit more nerd-ness and statistical tracking, that sort of thing.  It’s going to be great.

So I think I’m going to let you go with that.  I firmly intend to get back to posting with greater regularity, now that things are, more or less, settled here in my world.  Until then, here’s hoping all y’all in internet land have fun.

Just remember what I tell my kids: everyone likes a wino, but no one likes a whiner.  Moral of the story: when in doubt, drink more.  😛

 

Cheers!

Another one joins the brood

Big event last night. The better half gave birth to our fourth (and last) child at 2317 Pacific time. 🙂

Kiran Tanuki is a pretty big boy – 8lbs 5.4oz, 21 inches long. His first name is Sanskrit, meaning “ray of light”. Second name is Japanese. Tanuki is a magical shape-shifting trickster from Japanese lore, and a real creature in Japan. As you may have guessed, we don’t go for everyday names. 🙂

So looks like I’m going to have to write and publish more – all these kids are going to be expensive! But that’s ok. We’re pretty happy to have Kiran along for the ride. It promises to be a fun one. 🙂

20120914-133855.jpg

Sex

Title get your attention?  😛

Anyway, the results of the ultrasound are in.  The verdict: boy!  So that means our brood will be one girl (the oldest) and three boys.  So much for the better half’s plane to even out the numbers.  Oh well…

 

No, before you say it, there WILL NOT be a fifth.

 

So what does that mean for the little contest?  Interestingly enough, almost everyone guessed girl.  I think there were two, maybe three people who guessed boy.  Total.  So that makes it easy.  So I’ll figure out who’s getting the free copies this afternoon and let everyone know either tonight or tomorrow morning.  Fun, fun.

And Now, A Word From Our Sponsor…

…the sponsor being my wife, of course.

She has a small business where she hand-crafts cools items to help out moms and little kids: blankets, burp cloths, floor cushions, coffee cozies, that sort of thing.  Obviously, I think her stuff is great.  🙂

She asked me to plug a giveaway she’s having.  Here’s the prize: 

As you can see, it’s a very cute dress.  We put our little girl in one very similar that my wife made.  She loved it, looked cute in it, and it fit great.  Details on her giveaway rules are on my wife’s business blog, here.

And her business website is here.  Check it out!

 

 

 

 

 

 

On a less important note, I posted Passing in the Night up on the various ebooks stores this morning.

It’s live on Smashwords now.  Should be live on Amazon by the end of the weekend, and the various Smashwords distribution partners in a couple weeks.  The price is $1.99 for a killer 12,200 word hard science fiction novelette.  Go ahead and check that it, too!