Tuesday, August 6, 2013

So...the New Doctor

I'll just start with this, because it's hilarious:

HAHAHAHAHAHA! Okay, to anyone who watches a show only because the star is a hot, young actor: fuck off, you shallow twits. If that's all you want, go masturbate over one of your Twilight DVDs.

I grew up watching Doctor Who when it was running on PBS, started watching the new show the day it premiered in America, and bought the DVDs and Blu-rays. I'm fine with younger actors in the role, and I'm also fine with older actors. So far, Christopher Eccleston is my favorite, but Matt Smith is a very, very close second--practically tied for first place. I'm just interested in good storytelling.

I'd only seen Peter Capaldi in "The Fires of Pompeii" and Torchwood: Children of Earth. So when he was announced as the next Doctor, I just thought, "Okay, he was really good in those, so I'm interested to see what he does with this one." I hadn't yet heard of The Thick of it.

Then I started finding clips of Malcolm Tucker in action. And now I must see Capaldi as the Doctor now. Right now. Not next year. Now, goddamn it!

I know this would never happen on Doctor Who, and it's probably a little weird for me to wish for it to happen...but the thought of the Doctor telling off his enemies the way Malcolm Tucker does it, just fills me with glee.


Imagine watching the Doctor threaten Davros with "the thump of a fuckin' harpoon in your thorax!" It just warms the cockles of my heart. :)

Yeah, I know it won't happen. But I'd love it if Capaldi would channel at least a little bit of Tucker into his performance every now and then....

Sunday, July 28, 2013

A little blast from the past

Got an idea for a fairly large-ish post, prompted by an exchange on my FanStory profile page...but it would require reading and commenting on a bunch of posts on Ray Comfort's Facebook page. I tried reading a few of them, but after the first three, I felt the creases in my brain start to smooth out, and I had to stop. I might have to do this research in small doses, but I'll get it done. I came up with a perfect title for the post, and don't want to let it go to waste. So, that's something that'll come up later. Probably.

Been trying to upload the last Let's Play of Saints Row: The Third for the last several days, and it keeps stalling. The farthest it got was 31%...and it stayed at 31% for over ten hours before I gave up. I'm trying it again, but if this keeps up, I might end up converting the file into a smaller format to see if that makes any difference.

Now, to the little blast from the past. I was browsing through my MP3 collection and found something I hadn't listened to in a while. It was an excerpt from The Rick Emerson Show a few years ago, which I'd saved because it was so damn funny. The host decided to retire from podcasting about a year and a half ago, which is a shame. I miss his show.

But here's the MP3 I found...The Monkey-Faced Pig.

And if you're wondering what they're talking about...here's a visual aid:

You're welcome.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Site update

Just a quick note here. I updated the page on my website with my "Let's Play" videos of Saints Row: The Third. All episodes are on the page except the final one, which I tried to upload several times, but it keeps stalling. Sooner or later, I'll get it to work.

I also added a new page with several short videos of amusing stuff and things going completely haywire during gameplay.

And finally, coming soon, a series of gameplay-commentary videos of my character and several supporting characters cruising around the city and taking on gang operations and "Survival" activities. It'll be called... Hard on Crime. Hah.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Back up and running

After three months and a lot of frustration, my computer is back among the living. Had to replace the power supply, then the motherboard, then the power supply again because the new one I'd just bought was a dud. The motherboard and processor have a tendency to heat up more than they should, so as soon as I can afford it, I need to buy a better fan for the CPU. But for now, it's working and no longer having the shutdown problem it had just before the power supply blew up.

Couple nights ago I made my first Let's Play video in three months, and I think I managed to be a little funnier in this one. A little livelier. But I'm still having the occasional brainfart, like near the end, when a SWAT tank launched into the air and I made a comment about a wheelie. Obviously, that's not a wheelie. No idea why I said that, other than a moment of cranial flatulence. O_o

Anyway, here's the video.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Some essential items for a writer's toolbox

One thing I learned the hard way quite a few years ago is that it's a good idea to keep backup copies of all your most important files. Probably seems like a no-brainer to a lot of people, but there was a time when it never occurred to me. And after I had a few computers eventually snuff it, I wised up enough to back up my writing and most important photos to a CD, then a few years later, to DVD. But the process was kind of a pain and I only did it sporadically, and as a result, when a critical component of my computer crapped out on me, I lost some vital files--the most important being the stories and novels I was writing and rewriting.

It wasn't until a couple of years ago that I discovered Dropbox. I had used Syncplicity for a while before, but had certain problems with it. I tried Dropbox and have no troubles at all. Copy the files you want to back up into the Dropbox folder, and it's automatically synced to your online account. For example, if you're working on a novel, every time you click the save button, the newest draft is uploaded. And you can access your files from any computer, which brings me to the other kind of backup for which I've found myself desperately in need.

It's a good idea to have a secondary computer, because you just never know when yours is going to fail to power up, or have a hard drive die, or have something inside it explode. My personal setup is a desktop computer which I built myself almost four years ago, and a laptop that I use as my backup.

One of the benefits of building your own computer, aside from being able to put together a kick-ass gaming system without spending $4,000 on one with the same specs, is that by learning what the parts are, what they do, and how to put them together, you can save yourself even more money in the long run. Before I decided to buy the parts and build one from scratch, I would simply go with store-bought computers, and of course, when one component died, I assumed the whole thing needed to be replaced. I don't even want to think about all the money I spent on new computers when I could've just replaced one part for a fraction of the cost.

For the computer I built in August of 2009, I spent about $800 for the parts, and have been using it ever since. The power supply unit I bought for it lasted three years before it gave out, and I just replaced it with a new one and kept going. But there's some down time while waiting for the new part to be shipped, and that's where the secondary computer and Dropbox come in. Before I was able to get hold of a good laptop, I wouldn't be able to keep working on my novel or whatever else I had going at the time.

Same thing when I needed to upgrade the processor and motherboard. Since neither had actually quit on me, I was still able to use the computer, it was just that the old mobo caused the video to hang up two to three times per second (sort of like a visual "stuttering" effect) while playing newer games such as my current favorite, Saints Row: The Third. So I ordered a new mobo, and because it wasn't compatible with the processor I already had, I needed one of those, too. Luckily, I found a sweet, 8-core one that came in a bundle with a motherboard. Installed it, and had a few hiccups. I'm good at putting the hardware together, but not that good with software, so I wasn't able to fix the problem. Took a couple days for the repair place to get it working, but fortunately I had my laptop at that point, so I was able to continue writing uninterrupted.

And again, just a few nights ago, the new power supply blew up. I'm not even exaggerating. Everything was fine, then suddenly, it sounded like someone fired a huge shotgun right beside me. Two or three horrendously loud bangs and my computer shut down and wouldn't start back up again. And I just about shat my pants, it startled me that much. It happened around midnight, and it was after three in the morning before I finally stopped shaking.

So, I fire up the laptop, and once it boots, the latest drafts of my current novel in progress and various other stories I'm working on, automatically downloaded. Faster and easier than using CDs or USB drives or memory cards. Even though I'm eager to get my baby working again, I'm still able to write, keep in touch with family and friends (through Facebook and Gmail), and apply for jobs. And once the desktop is fixed, all I have to do is boot her, and all of my writing will download. Then I just launch my word processor, Atlantis, and each story I'm working on loads in its own tab.

Again, this probably seems obvious to some people. But it took me a while to figure it out, back in the day. And it was a while longer before I was able to pick up a decent laptop. So if there's one piece of advice I could offer other writers, it's to add both Dropbox and a backup computer--whether it's a second desktop, a laptop, a netbook, or even a smartphone (the Dropbox app is available for both Android and iOS devices)--to your toolbox, if you haven't already done so. Both of those have saved me a lot of trouble, and I wish I'd had access to them many years ago, when my computer would stop booting and I'd end up losing all my work.

So, the tl;dr version--always, always have a backup.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

An announcement and a video

Well, something awesome happened earlier this evening. Got an email from the publisher with the book contract for Chaser and a couple other forms. I read and signed the contract, and filled out the forms, and emailed them back a few minutes ago. And now I just wait to see what happens next.

One of the really nifty things was the cover art form, which had questions about what the heroine looks like, what kinds of book covers I like and why, and so on. The best one was near the end, asking what my dream cover would be. So I put in a fairly detailed description.

Wow. Just...wow. After twenty-two years, it's finally starting to come together. I'm still having trouble believing it's actually happening. I'm afraid I'll wake up in the morning and realize it was all just a dream.

And now, the far less important bit--a "Let's Play" video I put on YouTube today. Just for the hell of it, I decided to record a running commentary for it. Since it's the first one I've ever done, and for some stupid reason I get all self-conscious when I'm doing a voice over or dictating notes, even though I'm the only person in the apartment...my manner of speaking in the video is kind of hesitant, halting, and filled with a ton of "uh's." Maybe I'll improve if I keep doing these, and sooner or later get to the point where I can speak more smoothly and confidently.

But that's just me goofing around. It pales in comparison to the book contract. Heeeeeee, now I'm too amped up to get any sleep. :D

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Here are this Week's Hot Stories

So, after seeing a few videos like this one, featuring Bobby Roberts of Cort and Fatboy fame...

...and after finding myself...less than successful...in landing a job, and therefore running low on money...I started thinking. Hmm, maybe I should try something like that, only with movie or game reviews, and see if it goes viral so I can end up with a few dollars in my bank account. It'd be funny, and the habanero doesn't seem to be that bad.

I changed my mind after seeing what the pepper did to this guy, and the one who took his place.

Okay, yeah, I'm not doing that to myself. I don't know, I might actually be able to handle it, but I'm not willing to find out the hard way.

Think I'll stick to writing.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Well, this was a surprise

First, a few bits of business before I get to the surprising thing. This afternoon, Load was finally approved for premium status on Smashwords.com, so it's available on the Nook and many other platforms as well as the Kindle. Readers who want to buy a copy should be able to get it from B&N and iBookstore soon, if it's not already there.

Currently working on the formatting for Fifteen Minutes. I'm hoping to have it ready within a week or so, assuming nothing goes horribly wrong before then.

Also working on a new story...possibly a novella or novelette, depending on how things go...which I might put on Kindle and Smashwords exclusively. We'll see how it goes....

And now the surprising thing. I've been putting a rough draft of Elsewhere on Textnovel.com before polishing it and putting it on FanStory.com and Sofurry.com, then polishing it again and putting it on Kindle Direct (and later, I hope, on Smashwords and affiliates). Earlier this evening, just for the hell of it, I looked in on the stuff I've been posting there, and discovered that Elsewhere was given the Editor's Choice award, just a few hours ago.

Check this out: 

"Congratulations! This story has been selected as an Editor's Pick on Textnovel. We pick these stories based on writing quality, originality and publishing potential. Plus we think your story is an example of the type of story that has a shot at a prize and possible publication."

I wasn't expecting that at all, but it gave me a much-needed reason to smile. Been a bad day--still looking for a job, running out of money, worried about paying the rent tomorrow, and have a stack of bills that I can't pay...so this was most welcome news. Just the kind of surprise I needed to distract me from my constant panicking for a few minutes.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

New Publishing Venues

So, a few days ago I attempted to upload my first two books to Smashwords, figuring I'd be able to get them to a lot of different platforms that way, and gain readers who don't use the Kindle. If there's one thing I need to do soon, it's start pulling in some money. Well, I uploaded it, and the conversion failed, apparently because of formatting problems with the book. Eventually, I realized there was only one way I'd have a chance to fix the formatting--paste the whole book into Notepad, removing all formatting in the process, then copy that back into my word processor of choice, and go through the entire book and add italics and whatever else where they're needed.

So in addition to my (unsuccessful, so far) job hunt, I've been trying to get this done as quickly as possible. I'm about halfway through the first book.

Then there's the cover. I was using a plain black cover for both books, with the title and my name on each, but that's probably one of the reasons it's not selling as well as I'd hoped. I couldn't spare the money for a proper cover back then, and even more so now, not having a job and therefore money at the moment. Still, I'm thinking about at least buying a stock photo to use as the cover, if not commissioning one. One the one hand, I can't really spare the money, but on the other, it might catch a lot more potential readers' eyes if the books have quality covers that fit the plots. I keep bouncing back and forth on whether to just go for it or keep using the plain black covers to save money.

Guess I'll figure that out when I get there.

In other writing news, I'm working on the next chapter of Freelancers and mulling over some ideas for a new serialized story that I might make exclusive to Smashwords (and therefore Amazon and all the other sites Smashwords distributes ebooks to). Just as an experiment to see if anything comes of it. The story will likely be a series of novellas or novelettes. I figure I've got enough free content out there (and with Freelancers, Enemy of my Enemy, and other free stories I'll continue posting), there's a lot more to come. So that might be enough samples of my work for readers to take a chance on some premium content. And I know that Kindle Direct, at least, has an option to return/refund ebooks you don't like, so there's really no risk involved.

As I said, it's something I'm thinking about trying out just to see if it works. If not, I'll see if I can figure something else out.

And finally, I'm still waiting on the contract for Chaser, so nothing new to announce there. I figure it takes a while for things like that to be worked out. I'm just eager to see the last twenty-two years of trying finally pay off.

And now, back to the hundred or so things I'm trying to do at once.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Back Online

Kind of a long story, but I finally caved in and had home internet service hooked up. Basically, being a hick from the Oregon coast, I'm having trouble dealing with some of the highways here...keep making wrong turns, getting lost, and almost getting hit by other cars while trying to get back on the right track. I'm usually pretty shaken up by the time I get back home, so I decided, screw it, I'll get the net hooked up here and then I'll be able to do the job-hunting and other stuff without putting myself through all that crap.

So...got a ton of stuff to catch up on, in addition to finding a job so I can keep paying the rent. O_o

Monday, February 11, 2013

Made it

Getting to Tucson took almost twice as long as I expected it to. Been here nearly a week, but didn't have a chance to get to a place that has public wifi until just now. It also cost a lot more than I expected, so I'm running low on money and it'll be a while before I have internet service at home. I'm still getting a little writing done, but I have to concentrate most of my effort on job hunting and getting set up here (getting my phone switched over, getting an Arizona drivers licence and plates, that sort of thing). Mostly, I'm just worried about paying the rent and bills and buying food. I always hoped I'd be able to land a job quickly here, but I can't help worrying. I don't mind admitting that I'm getting scared....

I did get one bit of good news, though. Friday evening I got an email from the publisher I sent Chaser to. She really liked it an wants to publish it. She asked me to go through it one more time to fix typos and whatnot, then she'd send me a contract ASAP. I sent in the revised draft about an hour ago, and now I just wait.

Over twenty years I've been trying to get my foot in the door, and now it's finally happening.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

T-Minus 48 Hours

I can't believe how fast the last month has gone by. It just hit me...tomorrow I start packing. O_o Seems like it's only been a few days since I made the decision to get out of this horrible town.

Tomorrow my internet gets disconnected, so I'll be using whatever free wi-fi I can find until I can afford a home connection. Probably won't get much writing done in the next week or so, but I'll keep working on stuff whenever I can.

So, this is it. One more day in this place, then the next morning I haul ass outta here. :D

Thursday, January 24, 2013


The days are just zipping by, yet at the same time they feel like they're standing still. Every other time I've had to move into a new apartment, it all happened within a few days. This time, I've had about a month and a half to do it, and have managed to rent an apartment in Tucson so it'll be waiting for me to start moving my stuff in. Having that much time...it's started to feel kind of unreal. I've been trapped by my own financial situation in this town for over twenty years, then to suddenly have a way out, then have to wait so long for moving day...it's easy to forget that it's actually happening.

At one point today I suddenly realized, Six more days. Well, technically it's seven, but since I'm hitting the road immediately after breakfast on the last day, I'm not counting that. So, six days to finish packing, take care of a few final things like canceling my post office box and whatnot, and rent the U-Haul truck. I've been packing a bit every day so it won't have to be done all at once, but a lot of my stuff can't be moved until I actually load it onto the truck, like the bed and tables and my desk. But that's all big stuff, so it won't take long to move.

And in between everything else, I try to get a bit of writing done. Right now my focus is a serialized story I've had going for quite a while, Elsewhere. I ran into a rather bad case of writer's block on it and haven't updated it in almost a year, so I'm trying to get back into it by revising the first few chapters and hoping that'll break through my mental blockage. I've also decided to try an experiment with it, and put it up on Amazon's Kindle Direct platform to see if I can bring in a little extra money, since I'll need it while I'm job-hunting. I'm putting each installment up on Amazon for 99 cents each. Got four "episodes" up so far (linked on the right) and a fifth on the way. Had a draft of the sixth one done, but it's pretty short; I'd started working on the seventh a while back, but will end up combining them so it'll be a decent-sized chunk of story.

Also, I'm hoping that putting them up for sale will help me impose a deadline on myself so I'll finally get back into a writing routine. I'm hoping I'll be able to get one installment posted per month (if not sooner). The first five, since they were already written, I decided to put up ASAP, so they'll already be up before I spend three days moving and however much longer to get done all the other stuff I'll need to do, like getting an Arizona driver's licence.

I'm contemplating ideas for some other writing-related stuff to put on Amazon, as well. Whatever job I end up getting in Tucson will likely be part-time for the foreseeable future, and wherever it is I'll most likely be starting over at the bottom, so I'll need a way to supplement my income. And, honestly, the ideal situation for me would be to make enough money writing to get by with my novels and stories serving as my only source of income. The last twenty years of working in fast food and then retail came alarmingly close to driving me off the deep end, so I really would very much like to not put myself in that situation ever again.

Probably won't work out, but you never know until you try, right? If nothing else, giving this a shot might at least get me started writing more than just one chapter of a novel every six months or more.

Anyway, more on all of that as it develops....

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A lot going on

My writing has always been kind of sporadic over the last few years, but the last few weeks...well, I'm focusing most of my time on finding an apartment in Tucson so it'll be ready to move in when I get there, and packing and cleaning up my apartment here. Looks like there's a good chance of that happening, though. I found a really nice one that has a bedroom, a washer and dryer, and a private balcony/patio (from the pictures I've seen, it looks like the one I'm going for is on the upper floor, so it'd be a balcony), and it's in a really nice area with a park nearby and a wide-open view of the sky, which is the kind of view I love. Where I live now, there are close mountains all around, and it makes me feel kind of boxed-in.

And that apartment is only $50/month more than I'm paying for this tiny-ass studio apartment now (the rent in this little town tends to be really high for some inexplicable reason). And things are progressing smoothly...the lease should be ready tomorrow, then I'll pay the first month's rent, and then I'll be set. Then I'll hit the road on the 31st. The drive from here will be around twenty, maybe twenty-one hours, so I figure I can do it in three days. And then I'll be over 1,300 miles away from this cold, wet, depressing, nasty, vile town on the Oregon coast. I'm pretty sure I have seasonal affective disorder--during winters here, with the nearly constant rain and often bone-penetrating cold and dark gray sky and 97% goddamned humidity, I usually sink into depression and lose any motivation to do anything. Once I can look out the window and see sunshine on most days, and not wake up shivering in the morning, I'll be okay. Might even be able to get back into a regular writing routine.

The balcony would make a good "office," now that I think about it. I've got a little patio table and a stool that would fit nicely there. It'd be great to sit there with my laptop and a coffee and a view of the park and the sky, and crank out chapter after chapter.

Since I can only afford a 10-foot U-Haul, I'm tossing out all the junk I've accumulated over the years and never even touch anymore. Been planning to do that anyway, but now I have an excuse to get around to it. It's really nice to have a month to do it, too, and not have to rush through it all in a couple days. Never had that before...every other time I had to move, I never really knew where I'd end up until the last moment, and could never afford a U-Haul. Mad rush to pack everything into the car and make trip after trip until everything was moved. Ugh. That was sometimes more interesting than other times, depending on the car I had at the time. Imagine stuffing a kitchen table into the trunk of a 1987 Nissan Pulsar, along with a bunch of other stuff, and still getting the trunk lid closed. Yeah. I'm so glad I don't have to go through that this time.

Anyway, that's where most of my time is going, these days. Still, I really want to take just a day and finish a chapter on one of the several different stories I'm working on. And there's also a bit of a rant that's been percolating in my head for a while, about Mass Effect. Specifically, Mass Effect 3, bad writing, limiting the story you're telling to a trilogy and veering off into a completely different direction with the middle installment, rushing to get your story back on track and finish it all with the third. One of these days I need to sit down and write that all out.

So...that's what's been going on lately, and what's on the horizon. Hopefully things will smooth out after the next few weeks.

For now...just looking forward to the day when I can walk outside without my nipples turning so hard that they'll be able to cut glass....

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Beginnings

Okay, it's about time I posted something here. The last few months have been keeping me derailed, and a couple weeks ago a pretty major upheaval in my life started. But this being the start of a new year, I decided to get off my ass and write something.

Haven't had a blog in a while, so here's a quick introduction. I'm a writer. Been a writer for a long time, but haven't gotten anything published beyond a couple novels I put on the Kindle Direct platform. There's finally something happening with my third book, Chaser, though; I submitted it for publication a few months ago, and it's actually being considered. So I'll be doing whatever I can think of to market the book, including posting detailed character profiles here and linking to them from my website and other places.

I'm also doing everything I can think of to get samples of my writing out where people can read them. Including a bit of fanfiction, which I write for the fun of it and as a writing exercise I started to get me out of a bad case of writer's block. And to maybe, possibly, draw a few more readers to the books I'm selling. I'll have more to say about fanfiction another time. Especially Mass Effect. Because...Mass Effect 3. Yeah. The ending wasn't the only problem I have with that game. But that's a whole other rant....

Over on the right you'll see links to just about everything I'm up to around the net. I'll go into more detail on it in later posts, as something new on each project comes up.

The major upheaval I mentioned above started the day I became unemployed. I won't go into detail about it now, but I will say that it was a horrible company to work for, and the store I worked in slowly became a living hell in the seven and a half years I worked there. Stressed me out to the point where I barely slept for three months, and finally just walked off the job in the middle of a shift when everything became just too much.

At that point, I could've looked for another job and very likely never found one that wouldn't come with a $5/hour pay cut...or I could've done something I've been wanting to do the entire twenty years I've lived in this town--pack up and move out. So I'm going for it. Sent in the thirty-day notice today, and now I have a month to get rid of all the crap I've accumulated over the years, pack up only what I absolutely have to bring, and squeeze it into a ten-foot U-Haul.

The town I'm in now is a small, dismal place on the Oregon coast that's almost constantly cold, rainy, and miserable. The only reason I'm still here is because I've never had enough money to leave. I'm not sure I have enough to cover all the expenses now, but if I don't try, I'll probably be stuck here for the rest of my life. The economy here sucks, and the only reason I stuck with the job as long as I did was because that company is pretty much the only game in town. Working somewhere else would've meant starting over at the bottom, and I wouldn't have been able to save up any money to move out of here.

But...screw it. I'm heading for Tucson and I'll make it work even if I run out of money. Think I'll have enough to get there, and rent an apartment if I play my cards right. I'll have to find a job right away to keep it, and that's the most iffy part. Still, like I said, I'll make it work. I've been trying to save up to move there for the last several years, I'm absolutely in love with the place, and I'll figure out a way to make ends meet no matter what. I start shivering if the temperature drops below 70 degrees, and I hate rain and snow with every fiber of my being. I need high temperatures and sunshine. And I just love the scenery around Tucson. As soon as I started considering different places I might want to live, every time I saw a photo of Tucson, I felt intensely homesick, even though I've never been there.

So, my writing output will probably be more sporadic than usual over the next month or two. But I'll keep at it whenever I can, and won't be able to resist posting photos I'll be taking during the 1,300+ mile trip.

Guess that pretty much covers it for now. Got to get back to work. And I'll see if I can add another page to my website later tonight....