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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Lack of Sci Fi

            I miss Star Trek. Not the movies, the various series. In fact I miss all of sci fi. Stargate, Battlestar Galactica, Farscape, Firefly, and, what the heck, Babylon 5 are all gone. There is no more sci fi.

            But I have the solution. Jack Campbell’s Lost Fleet series. It’s heavy on space battles, and has just the right amount of dramatic tension. Since Game of Thrones is based on a series, why not a sci fi opera based on a set of books?

Monday, July 29, 2013


            I’ve gotten into the BBC show Ripper Street, which I think is a top-notch mystery and excellent history. The show’s setting sparked in me an idea exploited in Babylon 5, where Jack the Ripper makes an appearance in the future. I think an idea such as that, where historical figures, especially criminals, go missing is a fun way to bring the history to life.
            I’m not talking about the ultra-famous figures like Lincoln, Socrates, or Shakespeare, whose presence in history is documented and necessary. I like the idea of those figures who abruptly disappeared, who go missing, and all that remains is the mystery of them.

            I think it’s time I go finding just such figures from history to make an appearance in some of my works.

Friday, July 26, 2013

F3 Pawns

            In the world of the supernatural, Mystics like Tony were on top. They were kings. Vampires, witches, lycanthropes and others filled out the rest as queens, rooks, bishops, and knights. They all fought with one another on who was more powerful, but one thing was clear: human beings were the bottom. We were pawns in their games, little more than a source of entertainment and food.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Vacation Time

            My vacation time has been a long time coming. Teaching right after the spring semester meant no break at all. Even now my break is limited to just a few weeks, but I plan on making the most of it.

            Visiting friends in faraway places and just unwinding is what I’m about. Most of my prep work for the fall is already done, so I’m closing my brain to teaching for as long as I can.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Digital Toolbox

            My latest digital tools have focused on a new ribbon for Word to aid in my grading. I’ve been able to collate a large collection of macros that insert comments into what I grade, which has sped up my grading immensely.

            The next step is to put this in a form I can spread around. Maybe I can make some money off of it while helping other teachers. I’ve been having to stretch my brain to wrap around VBA and XML. So now I have the basics of Inform 7, VBA, XML, and a teensy bit of javascript. Whatever it takes to save time in the long run.

Friday, July 19, 2013

F3 Coin Toss

            I walked into Sean MacFinn’s Pub, the old-fashioned brass bell announcing my presence. The patrons who recognized me raised their pints as I approached the bar.
            “Well if’n it’s Donny Iver’s Son,” Sean said.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The End

            Writing “The End” after a finished manuscript is a sweet, sweet sensation. The euphoria of completing such a monumental undertaking is awesome. Likewise, the end of a school term is awesome.
Tomorrow marks the end of the summer sessions. I’m free!

Now, back to writing.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Tech Projects

            It happened again. I come up with a tech project, associated with teaching, and I go at it for all I’m worth. It’s a bit of problem solving, learning, and mind-stretching that just sings to me.
Writing tugs at the same pieces of me in different ways, but when it comes to tech projects, I get the instant gratification. Writing is long-term, a slow game over weeks and months to wrangle a rough draft out, then polishing it into something more is more weeks and months.
Tech projects get me right away. A few minutes or few hours of working with some code or on a spreadsheet, and I’ve got something workable. In one week I took a loose collection of code and turned it into something I might be able to share with others. I might even be able to turn it into something commercial.
At the same time, I miss the long game. I want to get my writing back. I’m over halfway through the summer, and I haven’t gotten it back yet.

I need to work harder at the long game.

Friday, July 12, 2013

F3 Collections

            Superheroes collect souvenirs from their adventures. The Batcave, the Fortress of Solitude, Avengers Mansion, and the Baxter Building all are filled with various trophies from their adventures. They’re on display and serve as reminders of their triumphs and defeats (few of those). But me, I get stuck with a collection of stuff I don’t know what it does.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Target Audience

            I’ve been having trouble targeting an audience for my books. It’s very nebulous to me, but over time I’ve been gradually refining my target, which is fairly consistent across the board. Of course, part of my trouble has been the specific expectations that come with given genres, or maybe how those expectations have changed over the years.

Or perhaps it’s how I’ve changed as a reader. Either way I know that finding the right niche, the right target audience is very important, especially as it comes to submitting to agents.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Digitial Update

            To teach, to write, to do anything nowadays requires people to have at least some familiarity with technology. The more you have, generally the better you’re able to adapt to the changes that keep coming. It’s no longer optional. We must use technologies in our personal and professional lives.
            But it’s a hassle. There’s so much constantly changing that trying to keep ahead of the curve is a full-time job. I used to try and do it, but I learned long ago that I just couldn’t anymore. The best I can do is selectively focus on things I can adapt to my life. Even then I feel like I’m severely behind.
            But I have also learned that if I try to stop updating the tech I use, updating the tools I use, I might as well go back to the stone age.

            So I adapt. Now on my list, Visual Basic and introductory XML. Why? Because I can use it.

Friday, July 5, 2013

F3 Firestorm

            Volcanoes are not nice places. Sure, on TV they look cool with a red hot lava flow streaming down the side of the mountain, but up close it’s not so fun. I watched as Carl in bare feet, jetted up the slope. He literally jetted up with fire streaming out of his feet. He flew straight up the side of the caldera to where the sprays of lava spewed out in equal measure with chunks of red-hot rock.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A New Brain

            Igor! Fetch me a brain! Seriously, I have found the need for a new brain, or at least a new way for the old brain to think. I’ve been teaching so much recently that it has  become my default whenever there are spare moments. I find myself thinking “What do I need to do for teaching? What can I do to streamline things?” and I immediately begin looking into it.
            But enough is enough. Yes, I’m a teacher. But I’m also a writer. Writing often gets shuffled to the back because it doesn’t bring in the dough, but I need to get back into it. I need to change my default from teaching to writing.
            I need to redevelop my writing brain. It’s sat in the jar for too long. I need to take it out, blow out the cobwebs, and plant it firmly in my skull.

            More importantly, I need to make sure I never take it out again.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

One Down

            The first Summer session class has ended. Breathe. Breathe. Three weeks to go on the second one.
            Three weeks until freedom.
            Three weeks and I can finally get out of the sun-blasted state and some serious R&R.

            I can do this.
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