Gonna Keep It Brief and Mysteeeerious

Almost no progress was made this weekend on the cover art for Maelstrom of Fate. Other, more pressing matters took priority. Don’t worry; it wasn’t anything of an emergency nature; but it was very time sensitive and cropped up unplanned.

I may have a non-book related announcement to make in next week’s post; it depends on the outcome of this weekend’s unexpected events.

I’ll leave it to you to speculate what the heck I’m going on about.

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I will say I got quite a bit mapped out in plot points and notes for season 3 of The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe this week. It helps to have notes, but I refuse to do an outline. I prefer a more organic approach to my writing. I tend to use a blend of plotting and pantsing. I really need to get the ball rolling on shopping the serial to publishers, but I’m facing the editing process on Maelstrom in the next few weeks if it’s to be out on time. After October, there will be activity toward getting TAoPaW launched and into yer grubby little paws.

Everything but the Kitchen Sink

Well, maybe that is an exaggeration.

First, allow me to apologize for not posting last weekend. There has been way too much going on the past two weeks.

Last weekend I was dealing with care for a loved one after an ER visit. Nothing deadly serious; just an abscess that couldn’t wait for an appointment to be drained. It has required daily cleaning and re-packing while it heals.

I have made good progress on The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe. I’m currently writing on episode 24 which will end season 2. I’ve got some ideas for season 3; I just need to plot out what order to attack them in.

I finally got a chance to get some painting in on the cover art for Maelstrom of Fate this afternoon. I’ve gotten both of the background elements in the upper corners done. Next up is the central portrait of Viktor, then finally the foreground element at the bottom.

I’m also currently sporting a slightly mauled right arm.

Cricket did NOT take well to being placed in a carrier for a trip to the vet. He’s been suffering from chronic , explosive diarrhea; meaning I’ve had to hunt for and clean up several puddles of poo every day. Because of this, he hasn’t been gaining any weight and is on the thin side of a healthy weight. Thankfully, no parasites were detected, although his intestinal bacterial balance was off.

They sent him home with a ten day regimen of antibiotics for him as well as de-wormer (for just in case) and ear mite treatment for all five cats.

Star will not be receiving the ear mite treatment.

She freaked when I gave her the de-wormer and turned into a tiny, demonic ball of razor-tipped fury every time we tried to catch her to treat her ears. For such a tiny thing, she’s all muscle and can jump up the wall nearly six feet. It’s not worth hurting her or her hurting us… and before anyone offer advice on how to safely catch her; we’ve tried several methods. she’s just too fast and too vicious. She goes thermo-nuclear.

For those of you unfamiliar with the size of a full-grown cat with some Tonkinese ancestry, perhaps this picture will give you some perspective (Star is 3 and the only member of her litter to exhibit this genetic trace).

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She’s the blue in the corner. The other two are Wally and Louie, my 9-year-olds, weighing in at about 15 pounds each. At a guess, I’d say Star weighs 6 pounds. (The pirate kitty painting is leaning in the corner because I don’t really have a place to hang it yet.)

That’s about all I have for now. Hopefully I can get the cover art done this coming weekend.

Oops, forgot about a current aggravation. XFinity OnDemand won’t let me watch last week’s episode of Deadliest Catch apparently because Discovery keeps re-airing it. Trouble is, they air it at times that are NEVER convenient for my work schedule. Every episode prior to last week’s has been available the day after the first airing. WTF?

Okay, other than the new fridge to replace the one we have to defrost at least twice a week (it’s 11 years old) getting delivered sometime this afternoon, that’s all I have. Time to leave for work now. see ya next Sunday or Monday.

Well Crud

I still haven’t had time to make any progress on the cover art for Maelstrom of Fate. I’ve got so much stuff planned out in my head to do; but this month has just been plain too weird to really accomplish anything.

Apparently I’ve built up a considerable sleep deficit, and the account has come due, so to speak. This weekend has been eaten up with naps. The entire week has been riddled with stress over a family member’s medical issues and helping in caring for said family member. So yeah, no painting for me.

On a brighter note, writing on The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe has picked up again after my brief hiatus to catch up on some of my reading. I’m currently working on episode 23 and have had a few ideas which will carry the serial well into a third season’s worth of episodes.

Realistically speaking, I will probably have to wait until after the final edits and looking over the galley of Maelstrom before I can give serious attention to querying publishers about TAoPaW.

I would also like to organize my research questions for my dystopian, There Is No Arizona, and contact a few experts I’ve been pointed to.

Now if I could just get my hands on one of those time travel charms like Hermione used to keep up her heavy class schedule….

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Apology

I apologize for the delay in posts likely to ensue for the next few weeks. I’m looking at a probable 60 hour work week starting tonight. Not sure what the rest of the month holds yet.

Thanks for your patience.

Final Maelstrom of Fate Redshirt Winners

I wish to thank Sandra Ward, aka Con Mommy, for her assistance with the final redshirt drawing for Maelstrom of Fate, held at LibertyCon 30.

I extend a hearty congratulations to Doug Crowe and Aaron Plotkin for winning the final two slots. You both are killed fairly quickly, but you get the honor of getting one shot in each before your demise. (Read below the video for additional redshirt news.)

Doug, since you managed to win in this drawing, I will be removing your Tuckerization (where you’re written in as a character but not killed off) from season two of The Adventures of Pigg and Woolfe, my upcoming Steampunk serial, and awarding that spot to Snow Hawkins.

Also, as stated in an earlier post, my ConNooga redshirt winner, Jonathon Morris, was disqualified from appearing in Maelstrom for being excessively annoying. I have slightly relented my stance and will be redshirting him in season two of TAoPaW by incineration after taking a bullet for one of my main characters. (A back broken by a hungry vampire was just too swift and easy a death for him.)

Captain’s Log: LibertyCon XXX

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Well maties, another LibertyCon has come and gone. Once again, this has proven my favorite convention (and best selling, too). Even though my first panel, Whats’ New in Pirate Fantasy? (with Michael H. Hanson and Rocky Perry) was at ONE on Friday (a time when many cons are still a few hours away from even starting) it had a decent turn-out (10 or so, not bad for early Friday afternoon).

While my book sales were not as good as last year’s, they were still better than the other cons I’ve done this year. I sold nine books, and at least one of every title available. Three of my sales were to repeat customers either completing or at least continuing their collection of the series. The Maelstrom of Fate signed copy pre-order sale was a bust, however. I promise to work on figuring out how to run it through Paypal and re-opening it in September online.

My scheduled reading didn’t pan out. Late events on a Sunday are always lightly or unattended as many con-goers check out from the hotel and depart for home early. I had no attendees, not even the other author scheduled to share the time slot. Still, I managed to get in a brief impromptu reading at the Kaffeeklatsch Sunday morning. I was joking with one of my table mates about the lack of rum at the breakfast (I was in my pirate garb, of course), then mentioned one of my characters (Jon-Jon) who would complain about being entirely too sober. This led to reading a short excerpt from Blood Curse (book 1) with a scene between him and Viktor which was well received.

Some of the panels I attended but didn’t sit on were How to Approach a Publisher; Practical Linguistics in the Development of Voice; Indie Publishing Workshop; and the Mad Scientists Roundtable. While there were a few space related panels, we didn’t get the Space Update this year. Les Johnson was away in Italy at a Space Conference. Rob Hampson (aka Speaker to Lab Animals, formerly aka Tedd Roberts) hosted the Roundtable.

How to Approach a Publisher: This panel was run by Gray Rinehart, Gary Poole aka Kelly Lockhart, Dan Hollifield, and Michael H. Hanson. STICK TO SUBMISSION GUIDELINES! Be nice and keep it professional. Tell a GOOD story and WRITE WELL (you know, properly spelled used correctly with correct punctuation). Network! This is what lit cons are for: get to know the pros you meet; have conversation with them; ask questions/advice; DO NOT HAND THEM A MANUSCRIPT AT A CON (see first point)! If you handle this correctly, they will be familiar with your name and it might help move you PROPERLY SUBMITTED manuscript to the top of the pile. Be willing to accept critical review.

Practical Linguistics in the Development of Voice was a workshop run by Kevin Hearne, this year’s Literary Guest of Honor. I wish it could have been a two hour workshop instead of one, I still haven’t finished my writing exercise. I guess flash fiction just isn’t my forte. (My brain goes much faster than my hands, which makes it tricky to keep up.) Still, I found this workshop very useful and plan to hang onto my notes from it. I may do a separate blog post just on this at a later date. It’s a lot to cover. Suffice to say for now that Those People who say, “Voice can’t be taught; you either have it or you don’t,” are WRONG.

The Indie Publishing Workshop was supposed to have been run by Peter Grant and Dorothy Klapp, but they were double booked for the time slot. (A panel in another room got cancelled and everything in that room was bumped up an hour, hence the unintentional double booking.) Therefore, Jim Curtis, Tom Rogneby, and John Van Stry (none of whom were listed as attending pros but ARE indie/self published authors) stood in for them. This was another event which will require its own blog post to cover everything, but they covered everything from pre-publication to marketing for those who wish to go the indie/self-pub route. Even audiobooks were mentioned.

Speaking of, I got the same referral from two different authors/publishers who dabble in audiobook editions of their books: ACX.com. “Artistic Creative Exchange” is Amazon/Audibel’s self-pub arm and something I plan to look into for Waves of Darkness. I hold the audio rights to my books, and I’ve had at least five people in the past month ask me if I have them available on audio. I’ve been wanting to take Viktor to audio for several years now, but always thought it was something I couldn’t afford. What I learned at this con tells me the time is right to finally take that leap.

The Mad Scientists Roundtable, a LibertyCon tradition, covered several interesting topics this year. We started with the Kepler project, which has discovered aver 2300 exo-planets thus far. This led to discussion of the TESS mission to try to find Earth-like planets and life-markers. The Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop was mentioned along with questions such as should we be looking? and how far out should we try to go? It was agreed that even though we may not have the tech to REACH an exo-planet, finding one which meets the life-sustainability criteria would give us the impetus to DEVELOP the tech. The question was also raised on whether we should focus on trying to reach Mars or to shoot for one of the moons of Jupiter or Saturn, such as Enceladus (which has water). This was debated without a general consensus; in fact aiming for some of the larger asteroids was mentioned as yet another option. Of course, any such mission would require more study of the long-term effects of radiation exposure and micro-gravity on human life and longevity.

The next subject was quantum computing. Someone wondered if it was the “next cold fusion” in that they keep promising it but never quite delivering. Questions raised were: what will we use it for; is it the next step to true artificial intelligence; and can we make it commercially viable? It seemed generally agreed that this was totally unknown and some scary $#!t.

Of course, this discussion led to the news Elon Musk has launched a company called Neuro-Link seeking to find ways to create a brain/computer interface. Currently, this ONLY exists in science fiction, although experimental medical electronic implants exist to treat certain brain disorders/injuries (with varying success; and they aren’t computer linked). The possibilities of using this tech once it finally manifests to reprogram one’s body to self-correct medical issues came up. The questions discussed were: would you want a biomedical implant; and when should we allow people to elect to have one as opposed to it being a medical necessity? Many agreed this should not go forward until there is some way to protect against hackers. Still, many saw a commercial potential for such implants (especially among gamers who could use one to improve and augment reaction times). One this was certain: this kind of tech will raise all sorts of ethics questions along the way, especially with the potential for abuse (read: mind control). Also the question came up of could you be forced to have one, say by the government or even your employer?

The Roundtable ended with the question of when will we have fusion.

As was pointed out by one wag, we already have a fusion generator… 92,955,807 miles away.

I realize I’m jumping about, chronologically speaking, in this report. I also wanted to share this recording of Gray Rinehart performing the filk song he specifically wrote for LibertyCon last year when he was MC.

Then, it was a tribute to fandom and the late David Bowie; now, it is a tribute to LibertyCon’s longevity and last year at the  Chattanooga Choo Choo. Exactly when and where the next LibertyCon will be depends on what sort of contract Brandy Spraker and the board of directors can work out with another venue.

Once this is settled and the information available, you can bet I will be buying my membership for next year.

Also, look forward to an expanded cosplay/costuming track at LibertyCon. I’ll post more on that as the info becomes available.

Prepping for LibertyCon

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Sorry about no post this past weekend. Work has been busy, and I’ve had a convention to prep for.

You may notice the “sold out” stamped on the LibertyCon banner. This is because LC limits membership to 750 people, con staff included. (That’s right, even the organizing committee members have to purchase a ticket. All proceeds from the convention above costs go to the chosen charity of the year.)

Liberty is perhaps my favorite convention so far, although ChattaCon’s revitalization has made it a contender, as well. I reserve offering an opinion on HallowCon until after I’ve attended this October.

Speaking of HallowCon, I will be debuting Maelstrom of Fate at that convention (God and my publisher willing). In honor and anticipation of that, I will be offering a pre-order sale for signed copies at LibertyCon. For now, this will only be available to LibertyCon attendees. The book will be offered at a discount plus sales tax and two options on shipping. Everyone who preorders will have to pay shipping, but those who pick up their copies at HallowCon will have that fee refunded to them then. I’m doing it this way because there is always the possibility the book might not be released on time, and I want to make sure everyone who preorders GETS their copy.

I might make this offer available online at a later date (before the book release, of course), but I’ll have to figure out how to best set it up. It may mean having to change my PayPal account from personal to commercial, or creating a separate commercial account. More on this at a later date.

Back to Con Prep: I will have 10 full sets of the 6 titles currently available in my Waves of Darkness series to sell at the con. I have my banner. I have author cards. I have a new set of convertible hand trucks (they can be turned into a 4-wheeled cart). I have preorder forms printed up. I have my garb. I have my cash drawer and my Square card reader.

I will also be holding the final Red Shirt contest drawings for the last two spots. (As you may recall, I revoked Jonathan Morris’ status as a winner after he overly annoyed me; he had won the ConNooga drawing.)

Hopefully, I’ll be taking EMPTY book boxes home at the end of the con.

As usual, I will make a “Captain’s Log” convention report and take lots of pictures to post on FB and Plurk.

I’m off from work all next week (Summer shut down in the auto industry), so I’ll finally have time to work on the cover art for Maelstrom. I may even get some writing done on The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe. I promise I’m going to start shopping that serial to potential publishers before the summer is over. I’m only two and a half episodes shy of having two full seasons drafted.

I’ll post again after the con!