Research (or Why Google Is Good, but Math Is Better)

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While working on one of the season three episodes of The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe, I ran into the question of exactly how long would it take to travel up the Nile by steamship from Cairo to Khartoum. When I tried to find the answer using Google, I kept getting pages and articles about current travel routes and how long it takes to drive or fly the distance. I phrased my searches various ways, but the best I could get was an article about how long a tour company in the 1800s took to do the same cruise and stops it took nearly a month to do by sail.

This still was not helpful. I wanted to find out how long the trip would take non-stop.

I ended up looking up how far up the Nile Khartoum was from the Mediterranean, then how far up the Nile Cairo was from the Mediterranean and subtracted the latter from the former to get the distance between the two cities. Next I looked up the top speed a steamship could make upriver (against the current). I got the miles per hour (5 knots) and divided the distance by this. Finally, I divided that result by 24 hours.

My conclusion was that a non-stop trip from Cairo to Khartoum by steamship would take approximately 14 days at the very least. I realize this isn’t entirely accurate, since a nautical mile is different from a land mile. Still, for my purposes, it’s close enough.

Who says you will never have to use algebra after school?

I will hopefully have episode 3, In the Woolfe’s Den up on Kindle by next weekend.

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More Progress Than Expected

Would you believe I only just learned this week how to manage this site from my phone or tablet? I could kick myself for not trying it earlier, although my first attempt was a bit frustrating. I didn’t know I had to have the WordPress app to sign in from either of these devices. I tried doing it from my web browser and got the message that my email wasn’t valid. I’ve had this site for around 4 years, so I knew I’d used the correct email. Just had to dig around in Google a bit to figure out what I was doing wrong.

Since then, I updated the page for The Adventures of Pigg &Woolfe.

Speaking of, I’ve started edits on episode 3, made plans for the cover image, and am currently writing episode 34. Yay!

I also finished reading 2 of the books I purchased at LibertyCon. Zombies Ate My Homework, book 5 of the Authors and Dragons presents Shingles series. This one is by John Hartness. The series is a spoof of the Goosebumps Series and is written by some of the most hilariously not-right-in-the-head authors I’ve ever met. As the end of the blurb on the back says, this book is rated Not Safe for Anything.

The other book is Thieves’ Quarry, book 2 of D.B. Jackson’s Thieftaker Chronicles. I am seriously considering ordering the next in the series from Amazon, since I won’t be able to pick it up at LibertyCon next year. The stories take place in Colonial Boston on the cusp of the American Revolution, in the 1760s. One of the nifty things about this for me is that it’s only a decade earlier than the time frame for my own Waves of Darkness series. Of course, David’s stories have a greater depth of history. He holds a degree in the subject. (Yeah, I’m a little jealous of his skills.)

Captain’s Log: LibertyCon 31

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Opening Ceremonies: Brandy Spraker, convention chair

Yet another family reunion has come and gone. Yes, family reunion, because that is what LibertyCon is to me. These people are my tribe. No, we don’t necessarily agree on some things, but what family does? The beauty of LibertyCon is that we don’t judge each other by our differences… and in this time in history, the very lack of toxicity is something to be cherished.

Sadly, I will have to miss this assemblage in 2019. The only way I will be able to attend is at the cost of someone else having to miss it then. For the very first time in the history of the convention, memberships sold out in a single day! In 6 hours, no less! I am on the wait list, but there are many more besides me and ahead of me. (You snooze; you lose.)

Hopefully, I will be able to secure a membership for 2020.

This year, however, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I actually made my first book sale of the convention before I even got the books into the building. a young woman by the name of Keesha, stopped me at the corner and asked me about the convention. She was disappointed she hadn’t know about it beforehand in time to get a badge. I told her where to find it online, and we both bemoaned the local media’s habit of not reporting about the local sci/fi cons until the last day of the convention (Oh, by the way, there was a science fiction convention this weekend. By the time you read/see this, it will be nearly time for them to close up shop.) Then, because I was in my real clothes for a change instead of my work costume or street clothes, she asked me if I was portraying a specific character or what. When she learned I was an author and that I write about pirates that aren’t nice and vampires that don’t sparkle (among other things) and that my Waves of Darkness series is currently out of publication, she bought one of my few remaining copies of Blood Curse. (I honestly think she would have bought the entire series if she could’ve done so without feeling guilty about it. 7 books in one shot can be a bit overwhelming.)

Over the entire weekend, I sold 9 books and am completely out of book 1 until I can get them back in publication (hopefully with the help of an experienced agent).

I learned some valuable tips and information on furthering my writing career, one of the things I prize this convention for. After all, not only is it a sci/fi con, it is a literary con. MY TRIBE READS BOOKS!

While I didn’t get to attend Terry Maggert‘s workshop on Writing Effective Amazon Ads for Indie Writers due to a schedule conflict, he has promised to send me a copy of the presentation.

I did get to attend John Van Stry‘s workshop on How to Become More Successful as an Indy Author. I took notes.

I honestly believe my current writing and self-promoting slump… no, I know the slump is due to the massive overtime I’ve been working the past month and am still facing for the next 3 months, at least. It’s just hard to make the time for it, when all one has time to do when they get home is eat, shower, and sleep. I’m simply going to have to make at least a half hour every other day to work on what I have to in order to keep my stories alive, both in my mind and in the minds and eyes of my potential audience.

That’s another thing about LibertyCon I love; it recharges my creative batteries and determination.

Two other panels I make a point to attend every year are the Space Update and the Mad Scientists’ Roundtable, both of which are moderated by Les Johnson, author and real-life rocket scientist. Both are so info-packed as to be too much to cover in a single post.

I thankfully was able to attend Atlanta Radio Theatre Company‘s performances of Robert A. Heinlein‘s The Man Who Travelled in Elephant’s (dedicated to the late Harlan Ellison, who first performed the role of The Ringmaster in ARTC’s first performance of the audio adaption at Dragon*Con 20 years ago) and George Alec Effinger‘s Terrific Park.

I followed this up with Writers Telling Sea Stories, an assemblage of former Navy authors sharing their fish tales and how they aided them in their writing (especially if writing military s/f). Of course, there wasn’t a deck ape among them, just snipes, IT, carrier personnel, and submariners.

As expected, my shared reading at 2pm Sunday didn’t happen. Sunday afternoon panels rarely get attended, because about half of the con-goers are heading to the airport or on the road so they can be home in time for work Monday.

As soon as I get around to it, I’ll post the 2 filk songs I recorded, performed by Gray Rinehart, on my Viksbelle channel on YouTube.

All in all, great con!

The Truce Cover Reveal

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I just uploaded the second episode of The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe to KDP! It should go live by this weekend. I’ve also finally created a page for the Steampunk serial under Books and Short Stories.

I will be posting a report on LibertyCon31 later this week.

LibertyCon Looms Large and Other News

That’s right kids, it’s almost time for LibertyCon again — this year in a new venue, the Chattanooga Downtown Marriot adjacent to the Chattanooga Convention Center. The current owners of the Chattanooga Choo Choo have made it fairly obvious they aren’t interested in continuing business with any of the three sci/fi and fandom conventions which have called it home for the past decade or so. The Marriot is a temporary home for Libertycon, as it is my understanding the convention will be contracting with the historic Read House Hotel next year.

I will once again be pushing my books in Authors’ Alley as well as sitting on a panel or two. It also seems I’ve been cemented in as part of the crew for the children’s masquerade again. If you attend LibertyCon often enough, you WILL be put to work. Just ask Brandy.

Here’s my updated bio and schedule for this year. I would say drop by if you’re in town that weekend, but the con has been sold out for a few months now. Still, if you think you’ll be in the Chattanooga area around the last weekend of June (when they usually hold it if it doesn’t conflict with other events at the same venue) next year, be sure to log on to libertycon.org and get your tickets starting as early as July this year. They sell out fast.

In other news, I have finished going over the edits for episode 2 of The Adventures of Pigg & WoolfeThe Truce. As soon as I get a satisfactory cover put together for it, I will upload it to KDP.

I have already received my first rejection letter in my current agent hunt. Truth be told, that’s all I would expect to get this early in the game. Most of the agency websites I’ve looked at tell potential clients to expect to wait 8 weeks or more for a reply. I plan to send out another wave of queries over this holiday weekend.

Happy Memorial Day to all my U.S. readers and followers.

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The Great Agent Hunt Is ON

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Well kids, this means the Waves of Darkness books won’t be back on the market as quickly as I’d originally planned. Rather than self-publishing the re-release, I’m going to make another effort to get them signed with a good literary agent. I already have a few queries out, and plan to keep sending them out until I get positive responses.

I hope to get episode two of The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe cleaned up for release soon and artwork for the cover done.

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In other news, I just learned yesterday that Wally, one of my two ten-year-old cats, is diabetic. We’ve been instructed to not give the cats dry food anymore. The carb levels in dry food are too high, and feline digestive systems simply cannot process them. There’s going to be a lot of research on what to do and not to do for him. I’ll have to teach my husband, who hates needles, how to give him his evening insulin shot. My job makes it impossible for me to maintain the shot-every-twelve-hours routine.