WordKeeperAlpha Update

I’ve been promising an update on WordKeeperAlpha for a while now. While I haven’t provided that update, I have been working on it.

My project for a while now has been updating the Projects and Goals page, which currently shoves them all into the same page. What I’ve been working on is breaking them out into their own pages, adding new functionality, working on some new graphs and building a new API backend to support everything. For the non-programmers, the API backend is both to make the site faster in general, and a beginning step to making WordKeeperAlpha smartphone app. That’s still a ways off yet, but this is the first step toward making that happen.

This update has taken so long because of that background work. I’ve had technical issues that have taken way too long to get sorted out, mostly because I can only work on it during my free time. Now, though, I’ve gotten those technical issues solved. The backend is in place, and I’ll be able to expand on it much easier. Once this major update is out, I’m going to devote some time to fixing some of the non-critical bugs that have been reported, update the graphing software that I finally purchased a license for and do some other light updates

Once this major update is out, I’m going to devote some time to fixing some of the non-critical bugs that have been reported, update the graphing software that I finally purchased a license for and do some other light updates before I start working on another major feature. I’ve been focused on this for too long, and I do want to get to work on a social aspect to WKA. Anyway, that’s it for right now. I’ll be back with you in a week or two when I launch the new features!


You’re not a writer if you don’t write

The title of this blog post isn’t pointing fingers at anyone but myself. To say that I’ve been “bad” at setting aside time for writing over the past couple of months would be an egregious understatement. Truth be told, I’ve hardly written a single word of anything for the past several weeks, and the fault lies entirely with me.

Thankfully, I’ve been much better about working on WordKeeperAlpha on the weekends, and I’m getting ever closer to that big update that I’ve been promising for quite a while. Soon as I get all the little fiddle bits working, a few bugs ironed out and verify some security questions that I have, users will get a brand new interface for working with goals and projects, have more graphing options and should get a faster experience all around. Its still a few weeks out, but it is coming soon.

As to my writing, my lack of progress is due largely to my inability to step away from my video games for any measurable length of time. The main culprit is Zelda: Breath of the Wild, but I’m sure that Persona 5 is quickly going to start claiming more and more of my brain space. This is on top of my normally scheduled gaming time … and that leads me here. Silence on the blog for well over a month and nothing measurable to show since the start of the year.

This, my friends, will not stand. I’ve got two active projects right now, both of which could be finished and left to cool for a little while if I’d just finish them out. While I still don’t think that Impervious is right to send to publishers, due mostly to its size and my inexperience as an author, my second project, still lacking a title might serve as a nice jumping off point to get me an agent and publisher.

To that end, I’m going to be starting a strict “No writing, no gaming” policy. If I don’t hit a minimum number of words on any given day, I don’t get to save highrule and / or capture demon’s in Tokyo. That starts today, here and now. I’m going to focus on finishing my unnamed project, then smash the ending of Impervious to paste. My goal for this month is 10,000 words, to start off small, build up the habit of writing every day, and then ramp it up as the year goes on.

I may not sell a book this year, or self-publish one, but I certainly intend to finish two books and get a start on a third. My goal, at this point is to produce something that will get me representation by an agent as a first step to getting published. I’ve got several projects that will serve that purpose, and those that don’t work I’m completely open to self-publishing. Still, none of that happens if I don’t write. So, this month, the goal is 10,000 words. That’s about 500 words per day, every day, for the rest of the month. Wish me luck!

There’s only one real rule to being an author. Writers write. Its high time I got back to work.


February Update

Well. So, 2017 is certainly starting off interesting. I'll save the politics for a specific post sometime. I imagine that most of you who keep up with me in the real world and online know my political leanings, so it won't surprise anyone to know that I'm not enjoying the new regime.

Now, I'd love to be able to blame my lack of writing progress on that, and there might even be some credit to that, but it feels a bit like a cop out. I mean, not everything bad that happens can be blamed on Trump. Doesn't mean I can't try.

That being said, work on Impervious is progressing, though I have to say, I've been a little less enthusiastic about the project since I discovered I'd have a next to impossible time selling it, no matter how good the finished version turns out. Also, its becoming increasingly obvious that its going to need another fairly substantial edit, with a significant amount of world building going into the next draft. I'm having a hard time figuring out if shelving it until my career is at a point where I could have a shot at publishing it is the right move or just cowardice.

It's a good story, I like it…but the ending just isn't giving me the punch that I want. I'm sure that my author friends can relate to those feelings.

While all this is going on in my head, I stumbled back upon my NaNoWriMo project from 2014, a first-person urban fantasy about a novice vampire. Its nerdy, its fun, and (in my opinion) a surprisingly well written first draft. I spent the last week just reading it, wondering how in the world I'd forgotten about it. The project doesn't have a name right now, but I'm leaning toward punching out an ending to the first draft, then smashing out a second draft.

It would be a shorter novel, but something that would be much easier to shop around to agents and editors, or if that doesn't work, something much easier to toss together into an eBook and put up on Amazon to start a little self-published series. You'll undoubtedly hear me talking more about this in the next couple months, because I'm itching to do something with it.

I'm also going to be working on an Edge of December light novel: something the size of a novella that Glenn would then add illustrations to. Like last year, my New Years Resolution is simply to write more than I did last year. So far, that isn't working out so well, but I think if I focus on some smaller projects, things I can get done quicker and not get burned out on, I'll have a decent shot at increasing that word count.

I'm also regularly working on WordKeeperAlpha again. I know that progress on that hasn't been anywhere near as fast as it should be, but the features I'm working on are turning out to be bigger than expected. Still, they'll be worth waiting for. I've got a big update coming soon for Goals and Projects, and then I'll do some minor tweaks to the front page and a couple more small upgrades that I've been meaning to get to.

I've been promising social functions for a while now, and I'm still going to do them, but they might have to wait for version 3.0, which I'm planning to get to next year to really get going. Sadly, I've only got so much time in any given day, and its just really hard to fit in writing and working on WKA. Progress will continue…just slower than I'd like. For the most part I'm working on WKA on the weekends while I write during the week. At least that's what the plan is. We'll see if I can stick to it.

That's about it for me. My goal for the rest of the month is to average 500 words a night for the month of February. Right now, I'm not doing all that well toward that goal, so I'll have to kick it up a notch or two over the next few weeks. I'll check in with you guys in March and let you know how I did. Give me a poke on social media and let me know that you've got your eye on me.


The wonderful worlds of Seanan McGuire

My wife and I had the distinct pleasure of going to ConQuest in Kansas City earlier on this year. If you haven’t been, I can’t recommend it enough. The programming was excellent, the location (The Sheraton at Crowne Center) is awesome, and they had a game room the likes of which I haven’t seen before or since. We’re looking forward to returning this year, and probably for many more in the future.

One of the chief draws of ConQuest this year was the convention’s author guest of honor, Seanan McGuire. She’s someone who’d flown under my radar for a long time until I picked up Rosemary and Rue, the first in her October Daye series during one of my “Eh, its Urban Fantasy and I need something to hold me over until the next Dresden Book comes out” searches of Audible.com.

Spoiler alert: The next Dresden book comes out in exactly one hundred years.

Back on topic, though. Since that first book I’ve been hooked to just about everything that Seanan writes, and fortunately for me, she writes a lot. Not only that, but her panels at ConQuest were hilarious and mildly frightening. Through some of her books, she’s done quite a bit of research on genetic engineering and put a lot of thought into how she would end the world on the cheap. She actually consults for the CDC in one capacity or another along with some other authors. I’m assuming because it’s their job to think up worst case scenarios and then think up ways out of them.

All that being said, if you don’t know who she is, and what she writes, that’s what we’re doing here today. We’ll start where I started, with the October Daye series.

While I really don’t want to compare October Daye to Harry Dresden…there are a few similarities. Not in a “this is a copy” sense, but more in a “both of these characters could use a vacation” sense. October Daye is a Changling, half-human, half-fae. She’s had a rough last decade and a half. While searching for the kidnapped wife and daughter of her liege, his asshole half-brother changed her into a goldfish and left her to swim about in a lake for fourteen years. When the spell finally breaks, she has to pick up the pieces of her life and deal with all the problems she left behind. If that sounds a little rough…it is. Toby gets the crap beat out of her in just about every book, makes more enemies, gets in more trouble, and generally bites off more than she can chew. She is also a bad-ass, though. Seriously, check it out.

Maybe “hard-boiled fae-private eye” isn’t your speed. Though, if it isn’t I’m not sure we have all that much in common. Still, if it isn’t, maybe “monster conservation” is more your speed. Well, the proper term is Cryptozoologist. For Verity Price, Cryptozoology is the family business. In the first book in Seanan McGuire’s InCryptid series, Discount Armageddon, Verity is in the middle of a study of the Cryptid populations of New York while trying to decide if she wants to pursue the family business, or follow her heart and become a professional ballroom dancer. All that goes out the window when a snake cult starts murdering folks and a member of the Fellowship of Saint Giles (monster hunters and assholes) shows up. I like this series a lot, for the world building, the characters and the everything else. In a later book they go to Australia and I wish she had an entire series based there.

Sometimes you’re not in an urban fantasy mood though. Sometimes you feel like a little horror. How about some zombies? Well, under her pen name Mira Grant, Seanan writes a couple of different horror series that are both engrossing…and gross.

In the Newsflesh series, starting with Feed, the zombie apocalypse has come and gone. The world has changed in the last forty years. First, zombies are a still a thing. Just because the apocalypse ended doesn’t mean they aren’t still around chewing on people. Along the way, the traditional media dropped the ball, and the new journalists are bloggers. Some are pure journalists, while others go out into the wilderness and poke dead things with sticks for page hits. Feed joins the first blogging crew embedded with a presidential campaign. Go out and read this. Trust me. Just do it. I wish I could tell you more…but I really can’t spoil this. Its good.

Zombies too tame for you? How about a world where genetic modification has produced a tape worm that you voluntarily take to solve all your health problems. What about when that goes really, really wrong? Then might I humbly suggest Parasite also by Mira Grant, the first book in the Parasitology series. Also a great read full of conspiracies, and creepy parasites.

Phew… There’s almost certainly something in here for you. I highly recommend that you buy her books. All of them. Read and keep reading forever.

I’d like to do some similar posts with other authors who I’ve stumbled across. But I’m terrible at delivering on blog promises. So, you’ll get what you get and you’ll be happy. Besides, if you read everything by Seanan McGuire that you can get your grubby little mits on, you won’t need any more books for a while. For now, I can hear the sweet, siren call of bed. That and the cats hunger. Catch you next time!

 


I’m scared and I don’t know why you aren’t

“Trump's a political outsider.”

“Trump speaks his mind.”

“He's going to get the corruption out of Washington.”

“We don't want another four years of the same politics in Washington.”

“It's time we sent a message to Washington that they can't just ignore us.”

I've heard the arguments. I understand them. Congress' approval rating is lower than Ebola's (wish I was joking) and the “fly over states” feel justifiably like our concerns aren't important to the policy makers in Washington. Concerns that have been stoked and enflamed by a pompous, posturing, shit lord with corn-silk hair … I'm sorry … President-Elect Trump.

Continue reading…