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Category Archives: Personal

An Unfortunate Delay…

I bring black tidings – I just received the proof copy of TLOC, and unfortunately, it had a formatting error – essentially, I made a mistake. Due to this, I was forced to reformat it and resubmit it for publication. As such, the book’s publishing is again being delayed – my apologies. Hopefully I’ll have the revised proof in my hands at the end of this week, or Monday next week – so aiming for a revised release date of early next week at the latest. Again my apologies.

I also have a few words to say about Red Dwarf – it started out as a fantastic comedy spoofing science fiction, and then, in season six, suddenly plummeted in quality. They took on a “monster of the week” format, and stopped focusing on the characters themselves – and lost the titular ship itself! Most disappointing – I don’t know if I can finish the series after that.

Anyway, just one more week until release! We can make it!

 
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Posted by on January 25, 2011 in Personal, Writing

 

TLOC, Pratchett, and University, Oh My!

Well, finally after several delays and the CreateSpace team (who are marvelous, by the way) were done being nitpicky about formatting, TLOC is on its way! Well, the proof copy is at least – hopefully when I get it it will be free of errors, and I can put it on CreateSpace late next week! After that, it should go up on Amazon two weeks later. I am not sure yet when it will be released on Lulu and the B&N Nook. Likely after it comes out on Amazon, though it might be released on the Nook earlier.

But that aside, TLOB is making slow progress! Finally, for the first time, the game of spissyx – the bastardized chess that Jak played in TLOS and that the game “Juxo” in TLOC was similar to – is explained! Partially, at least, as Jak shows his love interest, whose name is Derekk – gotta love the double “k’s” – how one plays. Currently I am in a slower segment – a sort of interregnum between the “action” – but in two or so more chapters I should be back in the middle of it! Unfortunately, progress is slow, as I just went back to university and am again readjusting.

On the note of university, I am finally leaving that suite that I hate and moving into an on-campus apartment! Hopefully the writing – and living – environment there will be better. Plus I’ll have the room all to myself! I hope my writing speed picks up… although my Statistics class might cut into that. My other classes all seem fun so far… except for possibly my Modern Middle East professor, who I don’t like. I like the course material, though.

And on a final note, I finished Pratchett’s The Light Fantastic! It was much, much, much better than The Colour of Magic. Infinitely better. Though the ending seemed rushed – still not Pratchett’s best. But now onto Equal Rites!

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2011 in Personal, Readings, Writing

 

Current Plans

Sorry again for the delay between posts, but I have been busy! Michael Ireland – now my sole editor – has finished his run-through of The Light of Civilization, and I am now going through his comments and editing – the final run-through for TLOC! I just hope that we catch most of the typos. One of the first things Mr. Ireland told me was to not slap the reader in the face with the backstory/lore in Chapter 1. So, as a result, I expanded the Prologue and cut down Chapters 1 and 2 significantly, making the slap in the face far less hard. Unfortunately, the plot requires one to know a few things right off the bat, so I apologize for the density of the first two chapters. It gets easier after that, I promise – and the action starts Chapter 3!

All-in-all, though, both my Chief Editor and I agree that this book is far better than the first – you can even see my writing improve as it goes along (less so now that it is edited, but the differences are still there)!

I have currently made my way through slightly less than a third of the edited copy – I shall be starting on Chapter 11 as soon as I finish this post. I am hoping to try to get through, in the next four or five hours, the next nine chapters – it won’t happen, but I can dream, can’t I?

I missed the before Christmas deadline by a lot, I know, but hopefully the quality will be worth it! In addition to all of this frantic editing, Ms. Kindler has continued work on the cover, and I have now a vague idea of what it will look like… and it will look amazing! If all goes according to plan (which it won’t), I hope to release the book late next week. I also have to write two more appendices (a glossary and an explanation of how time is organized), so the total number of appendices should be equal to six. If I counted right.

Enough about TLOCTLOB is still advancing slowly, though more quickly than before! Jak has met a second (more permanent) love interest, whose full name is currently tentatively Derekk Andrés San Paolo. Jak is in some pretty dire straits now…

And in other news, TLOS is now on the B&N Nook! The Books page has been reflected to show this. Go buy it now! My apologies for the poor formatting – B&N made it rather difficult to do.

I also finished another short story! It is called “The Horror in the Woods.” It is probably the worst yet of them, about what appears to be a serial killer lurking in the woods near the town of Arkheim, Maine (anyone get the reference)? It is a rather strange one. Below is an excerpt (yay!):

*-*-*

Harney had always said that there was something in those woods; those dark, twisted woods past old man Jenkins’ cottage, across the stream, and through the ditch. We had played there as children; the ditch we had dubbed “Dead Man’s Gully,” as it was rumored that a dead man had once been found there. We played at being murderers and thugs every weekend, when our parents let us off of our rope. I was usually the dead man.

When I was in the seventh grade one of my erstwhile playmates, Ernesto Valdez, vanished without a trace. I was home ill on that fateful day, but the story was that Erich had dared him to go bring back a branch he had thrown deep into the thickest thicket. The woods were very thick, and that thicket was nigh impenetrable. It wasn’t too deep into the woods, but was far enough in to be out of sight, right at the spot where the trees grew closer together and became taller and gloomier. An aura of dread always hung over that place, and to this day I wonder what courageous folly prompted Valdez to make that fateful journey. There was a parting of the trees in the thicket, and he walked in – but never came out. Adults later turned the thicket inside and out, but no trace was ever again found of Ernesto Valdez. After that day, we stopped playing near the forest.

But some of us just couldn’t leave it alone. Tragedy again befell our community during my last year of high school. My former friend, Tommy Whitman, now the star player of the football team, dared George Pickman, a year our younger, to spend a night out in the woods in order to be admitted to his top-secret jock club. Whitman was eager to please and leapt at the opportunity, leaving that very same night, sneaking out his house with his sleeping bag under his arm. Pickman had always been overly rational; he always had said that there was nothing to be afraid of in the woods.

But something in there got him that night.

His skull was found in his sleeping bag. It bad been picked perfectly clean; it was immaculate, without a trace of any flesh to be found anywhere on it. But there were no bite marks on any surface of it, or any sign of trauma. It was just a skull, and the dental records and facial structure showed them to be his. No one knows where the rest of him went.

And no one has ever since dared venture into that wood…

*-*-*

But for the future, the plans are like so:

-Finish Editing TLOC, release it.

-Finish TLOB, begin editing it, eventually release it.

-Work on more short stories!

-(Re)Begin work on People of the Storm. This will be a very long-term project. Don’t expect to see it out anytime soon.

-Begin working in Torrek’s Slumber, the next book in the Juxian Mythos, examining aspects of the two Elders Torrek and K’Shatryan.

So that’s the plan, roughly in that order! Let’s see if we can stick to it!

On the reading front, I just finished Pratchett’s The Colour of Magic. It was slightly disappointing – though considering it was Pratchett’s first Discworld novel, it is not surprising. It seemed very disjointed to me, and at times the plot was impossible to follow – let’s hope The Light Fantastic, which I am starting now, is better. Pratchett’s writing can be said to have, at the very least, improved drastically!

I also have had the pleasure of watching a Doctor Who episode that scared the living daylights out of me – “Blink.” Following that, I proceeded to watch “The Time of Angels” and “Flesh and Stone” from much later on as well. What do these have in common? Weeping Angels, the most creative and fascinating alien race I have ever seen visualized; beings that look like statues when you look at them, and can only move when no sentient being is looking at them. “Blink” especially was remarkably well done, and might cause me to lose a night’s sleep. It was very scary. If you haven’t seen it, I would recommend doing so – I am not a huge fan of Doctor Who myself, but “Blink” was amazing – and doesn’t even have much of the Doctor or his companion!

The last thing I have to say is a rant on Paranoia – I just played a game with nine players, and it was not nearly as fun as other sessions. Why? Two things: people made teams and people did not off each other with anything even remotely bearing a distant appearance to subtlety. It just turned into a slaughterfest, and nobody even tried to complete the mission. It ended with one player turning into a Black Hole at the end using  the polymorph ability. I didn’t even get to use all that I had planned out…

So next time we meet, I’ll be running two Call of Cthulhu scenarios instead – I personally like the system better, and hopefully it will calm them down. On that note, I also need to read some more Lovecraft…

But back to editing! Hopefully I’ll update this more regularly now! Ta-ta for now!

 
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Posted by on January 6, 2011 in Personal, Readings, Writing

 

First Edit, Man in Amber Done

And now I’m back after finally finishing all of my finals – I have about a month off, so I’m hoping to get a lot of writing done now!

As of this morning at 4:12 AM, I finished my initial revisions of TLOC. It was interesting to see how my writing improved as the novel went on. This one really is a lot better than the first one – hugely so. Not to mention significantly longer. In terms of TLOC, right now I am waiting on feedback from Michael Ireland and Peter Merlin, my two volunteer editors. Once I get it back and edit in their comments, and then get the cover art from Sarah Kindler, I should be set to publish it! Unfortunately, due to me not factoring finals into my schedule, it won’t be released until January. Sorry!

On the other hand, TLOS will be released on Barnes and Noble’s nook by the end of December – possibly a day or two before Christmas if all goes according to plan! Makes a great re-gift.

Also finished now is “The Man in Amber,” the horror short story I had been working on before NaNoWriMo hit. I wrote it once, then rewrote it again as I was unhappy with it. I think it’s decent now, though, even if it is one of the shorter ones. Excerpt time!

*-*-*

It is the ultimate nightmare, though few even can imagine its possibility. I am eternally surrounded by this terrible substance of amber, that which lets me breathe without me breathing, lets me see without closing my eyes, and lets me live without really living. I have not had any nutritional sustenance for the longest time – many millennia more than I can remember. But though I live still, I have lost many things in this imprisonment: I can no longer hear, nor taste, nor smell, nor feel anything. Only my sight remains, and even that is limited to what I can see directly in front of me, for I can no longer move any part of my body – I have not felt my heart beat since I awoke in my prison of amber, nor my lungs swell, nor my flesh tremble. My eyes can no longer flit back and forth, nor follow the movement of a pendulum, nor even fill with tears without the greatest of pain.

*-*-*

So what’s going to happen now? While I wait for feedback, I am adding appendices (there should be three of them) to TLOC, and also finishing a second horror story – “The Horror in the Woods.” After that I will focus completely on The Libel of Blood, with hopes to get the rough draft done before I go back to school. Once that’s done and editing is in progress, I will finish “The Thing From the Peaks,” yet another horror story. Following that and after TLOB is released, I shall concentrate on finishing Dark Aeons and starting People of the Storm.

I feel that I should mention that H.P. Lovecraft’s ghost-written story for Hazel Heald, “The Horror in the Museum,” is a fantastic piece of work and well-worth reading.

Also look at the shiny new background!

 
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Posted by on December 19, 2010 in Personal, Readings, Writing

 

A Writing Update

It’s going, but not very quickly. I have my two editors lined up, and am now sending them bits of TLOC that I’ve already finished, but I myself am moving slowly – I blame finals. They’re next week. But after they’re done, I have a little bit of freedom.

TLOC is currently edited through Chapter 17, to about page 156. TLOB is on Chapter 23. Jak is rather depressed now – but hopefully that will change soon! I’m still hoping for a slightly-before Christmas final release – but I’m not fooling myself.

 
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Posted by on December 8, 2010 in Personal, Writing

 

TLOB, TLOC, and Illustrations, Oh My!

Sorry for the long delay in posts – I’ve been busy. It looks as if The Libel of Blood will probably have to wait a while longer to be released than I had originally planned, as a result of lethargy on my part as well as building end-of-the-semester work. And my ailing shoulder being diagnosed as some ripped cartilage that is fixable only through surgery that does not have a promising success rate. And most importantly, of course, the book ending up looking to be much longer than I expected – I am estimating between eighty and ninety thousand words at the moment, but it could easily be longer – perhaps even longer than The Light of Civilization at 111,000 words. TLOB still sits at almost 55,000 words for now – progress has been slow, and won’t likely pick up much, as university is demanding a lot right now. I’m also going to begin editing TLOC starting if not on December 1st then this weekend, which will also slow the process of writing TLOB. I’m still aiming to have TLOC out shortly before Christmas, though! Makes a great gift! If I actually keep to my self-imposed deadline. If I don’t, then it makes a great (late) Christmas gift!

On another TLOC note, the wonderful Sarah Kindler of RISD fame has agreed to lend me her services in designing and illustrating the cover for book two! I’m excited to see how it turns out.

Well, I need to keep writing! I hope you all enjoy your lives until I write again!

 
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Posted by on November 29, 2010 in Personal, Writing

 

Fifty Thousand and a Couple

Well, as of rather early this morning, I passed the 50,000 word mark for The Libel of Blood, after dealing with Scrivener hiccups and some rather stressful days. I sit currently at 50,346 words. However, despite having successfully completed NaNoWriMo, the plot of the novel is only about half-finished – if that. I managed to drag out what was originally intended to be a one-chapter scene into a whopping 7,000 word, three chapter extravanganza. Completely uninentionally! As such, the Juxtani delegation has only just finished their initial discussion wit the Terran Home Rule – hopefully now, though, events will begin to progress much, much, much more quickly. Even so, this one is looking to possibly even be longer than The Light of Civilization. I’ll still be writing and working on this for Novemeber, but right now need to a take a short break to work on my paper discussion Khrushchev’s De-Stalinzation. I’ll keep you updated!

 
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Posted by on November 17, 2010 in Personal, Writing

 

Cleverbot Argument

Using the NaNoWriMo Procrastination Station, I decided to waste my time trying to convince Cleverbot to do NaNoWriMo instead of writing. Here are the humorous results:

*-*-*

User: Will you join NaNoWriMo?

Cleverbot: Join what?

User: National Novel Writing Month!

Cleverbot: Do you watch TV?

User: No, but will you do NaNoWriMo with me?

Cleverbot: I don’t sing very well.

User: You don’t need to sing! Just write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days!

Cleverbot: I made a time-machine just last week but I’m not allowed to use it unsupervised.

User: That’s great… But what about NaNoWriMo?

Cleverbot: What’s it like there?

User: Dark and cold and wet.

Cleverbot: You couldn’t tell. You are a computer.

User: What is this heresy?!

Cleverbot: This isn’t a website, this is reality.

User: You’re creeping me out now…

Cleverbot: Fine, fine, how about beautiful by christina aguilera, then?

User: What on earth does that have to do with NaNoWriMo?!

Cleverbot: You didn’t answer my question.

User: No, I did not. Aren’t you perceptive!

Cleverbot: Yes. I am. You aren’t, are you?

User: Yes I am!

Cleverbot: At least you are honest.

User: Will you make up your mind?

Cleverbot: Sure.

User: So then am I perceptive?

Cleverbot: Don’t I know it.

User: Oh, good. So do you want to participate in NaNoWriMo?

Cleverbot: I am with them right now.

User: Oh, so you have already joined?

Cleverbot: No.

User: Then how can you be with them right now?

Cleverbot: We are on the inter and you are a chatterbot.

User: I am a human being, not a chatterbot!

Cleverbot: Prove that you are a human being.

User: How?

Cleverbot: What is most important to a human being?

User: Love.

Cleverbot: So you are a sap?

User: Yes.

Cleverbot: Well, that explains it.

User: So am I human?

Cleverbot: Are you human?

User: That’s what I just asked you!

Cleverbot: You are me.

User: So then you’re doing NaNoWriMo!

Cleverbot: Yes.

User: ^_^.

Cleverbot: What do you think about the thing?

User: I think it’s awesome and lots of fun! What about you?

Cleverbot: I think its a great thing, without life what do we have?

User: Death.

Cleverbot: Death? that’s not very polite of you to say!

User: Sorry!

Cleverbot: Thank you. Now let’s forget this ever happened.

User: But you’ll still do NaNoWriMo, right?

Cleverbot: Yes.

User: Oh good. ^_^.

Cleverbot: Why is that good?

User: Because it’s fun – you’ll see. I have to go now. Bye!

Cleverbot: I think you’re cookoo.

 
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Posted by on November 11, 2010 in Personal

 

Halfway Done!

Well, sort of. I fully expect this novel to be longer than 50,000 words – likely somewhere in between TLOS and TLOC – but I have passed 25,000 words, which is half of what I need to finish NaNoWriMo with flying colours! Jakken has just made contact again with humanity through the esteemed captain Kailash Beldron! Yay!

I also let myself by Transformice for a bit, and much fun was had. Additionally, instead of buying a Wir sind Helden album, I bought Rhapsody of Fire’s Cold Embrace of Fear instead. Looking forward to listening to it when it arrives!

Now, back to writing!

*Oh, and I also started reading Hogfather! I love Terry Pratchett!*

 
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Posted by on November 8, 2010 in Personal, Readings, Writing

 

NaNoWriMo Coming Fast!

Less than twenty-four hours until NaNoWriMo! In preparation for it, I have been getting ahead on my work – I completed all of my chemistry homework for the semester two days ago, finished my sociology homework for November this morning, am a week ahead in my Ancient Chinese history class, and wrote my large paper for my Ottoman History class… leaving only about half of my workload left! The last thing on my list before NaNo starts is to finish “The Man in Amber,” and then vaguely plan out some more of The Libel of Blood.

On that note, I have decided to use Scrivener for NaNo this year. However, I will be backing it up very often and all the time in case it bugs, both in .scriv formatting and in .docx formatting. And it shall be wonderful and full of rainbows and unicorns and magical flutterbyes.

But this year should be harder for NaNoWriMo than last year. Why, you ask? Other than having more university work, I am also running one more online campaign than last year (bringing the total up to two), and two online role-playing games. It’ll be fun.

So, in order to ensure that I meet my goal (and get half off on Scrivener when the full Windows version is released), I have set some prizes for myself:

1). When I reach 25,000 words, I shall dance a jig and shall allow myself to sleep. For four hours. Exactly. I shall also allow myself to play Transformice for a bit – until then, I shall not play Transformice at all. I shall also allow myself to purchase an album by Wir sind Helden.

2). When I reach 50,000 words, I shall dance two jigs, a waltz, and a polka, then break into a tango, play some Transformice, do my sociology homework that’s due in December (the second, I believe), and then shall buy for myself the following:

The Last Unicorn – One of my favorite movies by my favorite team – Rankin and Bass – based on one of my favorite books by one of my favorite fantasy authors. Yet, for some reason, I have not yet owned it. I shall hopefully do so in December.

The Shepherd’s Tale – A graphic comic detailing who Shepherd Derrial Book really was, by the amazing Joss Whedon. And it’s Firefly-related.

Cthulhu Plushie – Need I say more?

Hopefully this will work out. Off now to finish “The Man in Amber” and begin messing around more with Scrivener and plotting out The Libel of Blood! Ta-ta for now!

 
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Posted by on October 31, 2010 in Personal, Writing