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Monday, April 30, 2012


     I regularly hook up with friends on Friday night to play games. Our current favorite is Dominion, and even as I'm getting my butt handed to me tonight, it's still a blast, and quite nearly infinitely replayable. But be warned, it's an investment with all of the expansion. Unlike many games, all of the expansions are worthwhile.

Friday, April 27, 2012

F3 The Study of Law

     "James 'Crushinator' Adams. You are currently ranked number five in your class, and currently up for Law Review. However, many people are looking at your number five spot. What do you have to say to them?"

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Conference Prep

     Registration: Check
     Business Cards: Check
     Finished Novel: Check
     First Pages: Check
     Free Schedule: Check
     Elevator Pitch: I really hope so
     Agent Appointment: Check
     Butterflies in stomach: Swarming
     Excitement: Off The Chart
     I'm off to Desert Dreams this weekend. Time to hobnob with writers and agents.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Legend of Korra

     I am a huge fan of Avatar: The Last Airbender series. There are few animation series out there with the same storytelling moxie, and Legend of Korra looks like a worthy successor. I'm already enjoying my foray back into the world of Bending, and I can't wait to see how it unfolds. I just hope the show creators are in the process of creating a third series. I need to see more Avatars.

Friday, April 20, 2012

F3 Dealing with Dwarves

     Dwarves rarely came into the kingdom. When they did, it was either to burn the place down or for trade. Since the town put up decorations and had a parade, it was the latter. I liked dwarves, for the most part. They drank, had rough manners, and liked to fight. It felt just like any of the bars in the Bronx. Unfortunately, the way they came in, it was more like the nice Manhattan bars attacked by people from the wrong end of New Jersey, which was the whole state.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Military Sci-Fi

     I'm working my way through book 4 of The Lost Fleet by Jack Campbell. I really like that the author is retired from the U.S. Navy. The tactics are authentic, and I don't find myself yelling at the book to be smart about things. Like I did with the last sci fi book I read.
     The characters are engaging, especially the protagonist. I heartily recommend this book to anyone looking for a good sci series with epic space battles.

Monday, April 16, 2012


     It amazes me as I teach to see the classroom continue to dwindle. It makes me think the writing business must be the same. A lot of writers must call it quits before the query process, and I'm sure the query process really makes others drop out.
     I think back on posts by Nathan Bransford and Rachelle Gardner about why we write. I think the same can (and should) be applied to why we go to school. This is something that people should figure out (both writing and schooling) before wasting the investment of time and money.
     And yet every semester, no matter my exhortations to students, there seem to be more empty chairs than filled ones by the end of the semester.

Friday, April 13, 2012

F3 Down Time

     I stretched out on the beach, enjoying the sun. It wasn't much of a vacation, but it was aces in my book. The small speedboat was tied up on the shore, and I had this entire side of the island to myself. Most of the Bel Vistas had people on them, but there were still a few that had been set aside for use by the town. I wasn't on one of those. I actually parked off one of those islands that hadn't sold, and just squatted.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

On Format

     I understand why agents and editors make formatting a big deal. It is a big deal. Screwed up formatting, from how it looks on the page to the file format to the file name are a big deal, and I'm not even looking at this with publishing experience. As a college professor, I am driven up the wall when it comes to my students simply throwing whatever format they want out there. I'm sure agents and editors spend hundreds of hours on fixing simple formatting mistakes that should never be committed in the first place. Among the biggest I can think of are using spaces to indent paragraphs, manually inserting page numbers and headers on ever page, and using bizarre styles that set everything screwy from the get go.
     My advice, learn the formatting before you start writing. If you do it before you write, you won't have to worry about having done it wrong and wasting time. To that end, I've whipped up a little something that reflects the most current formatting. I'll post it up soon if anyone wants it. Of course, that's just the most generalized format. Agents and editors are the final authority on how manuscripts should be formatted.

Monday, April 9, 2012

School Days

     I notice in my teaching that my classes become quite a bit smaller as the semester progresses. A few of them have legitimate reasons, but only a few. Others simply stop (or never started) doing the work or showing up. They never truly got their heads in the game.
     I remember from my own college days that classes did diminish over time. Maybe not to the same extent, but there were always empty seats by the end. College is tough. But then, it's supposed to be tough. I don't know of anyone who has said college was easy. Certain classes, maybe, but never college as a whole. There is always that one professor, that one requirement, that you will struggle through. There are a lot of hoops to jump in college, and the only thing that will see you through is perseverance.
     Getting a college degree is nothing but dogged determination as professors and classes will actively seek to make you drop out. I've had professors announce that anything below a B will fail. Others that there will only be on A in the class. Strictures and requirements so obtuse and pedantic that figuring out their purpose brings on a migraine. These are all tests to see just how much you want that degree, to see if you have what it takes to hold on to your goal despite all the obstructions.
     Writing is exactly the same, but tougher. No one said being a writer would be easy, and there are a lot of road blocks. I never quit college, and I'm not going to quit this. If anything, I want to be a writer more than I wanted college degrees. I'm in this for the long haul. I will reach my goal of becoming a published author. I have the determination and drive. Time and effort will make up the rest.

Friday, April 6, 2012

F3 Rosy-Fingered Dawn

     "Do you know, Matthew, how long it has been since I have seen the sun?"
     I could take a stab in the dark, but didn't care to. "You're sure about this? I mean, there are easy ways to test this out."

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

How's The Weather up There

     At 6'8", I have heard this joke enough times to make me a millionaire at a nickel per. Nevertheless, I now have an answer: a fiendish grin. My current project involves the weather. Which means I need to take a crash course in meteorology and the weather. One thing I love about writing is that I'm always learning. One of the things I hate is I'm always researching. Mostly because I get sidetracked by the former.
     It's an easy thing to be researching then suddenly go "Oooo! That sounds cool. Time to read up on this." Click. Many an hour has been lost in what should be a quick bit of research. But at least I'm entertained and learning; and I still get my writing done.

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Hordes

     I just finished Ghengis Khan and the Making of the Modern World by Jack Weatherford. The book was simply amazing. The scholarship is top-notch, and paints a dynasty that many thought to be simple barbarians as leaders the likes of which put Alexander and Caesar to shame. Even better, I think I got an idea for my own fiction. I'll have to do some more research now.
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