Archive for November 2011

The Mars Science Laboratory is safely in space:

Let’s hope it lands safely when it gets there:

No idea why the blog won’t allow me to embed videos in posts!

Coming into the final stretch for Nanowrimo, Tunnelers is now just over 40,000 words with six days to go. I was about a day behind on Tuesday so I’ve managed to catch up and get a little ahead.

I’ll need to do a ton of rewriting after it’s finished, but I think a lot of the basics are there. It’s not going to be ready for Christmas though.

I think I’m going to get to work on revising Petrina and leave Tunnelers to gestate for a couple of months before I go back and sort it out.

New review up at When The River Has Run by Lars Harssan.

I’ve been reading about windmills killing birds and bats. Surely there’s a simple solution to this?

In keeping with similar government programs, governments could issue dispensations allowing a certain number of birds and bats to be killed each year, and over time reduce that number until all windmills were slaughter-free. Companies could then trade those dispensations so that the most murderous windmills cost more money. Perhaps someone like Al Gore could set up a market to do so.

We could call it, I don’t know, Cap and Slay?

Final Contact CoverI finally collected enough rejections on Final Contact and it’s now available on Smashwords. It should be up on Amazon soon.

I wrote this story years ago and it’s always been one of my favorites. I’ve submitted it to a few magazines over the years but it’s never sold, so I thought it was about time to self-publish and see where it goes. It pretty much sums up my opinions on alien life, which will become more clear when I start writing more SF stories.

I think I’m going to expand it into a novella at some point because there’s a lot going on which would probably work better if dramatised rather than recounted.

Hemingway’s four rules for writing well:

Four Rules

1. Use short sentences.
2. Use short first paragraphs.
3. Use vigorous English.
4. Be positive, not negative.

Simple and they make a lot of sense.

Just passed 25,000 words on Tunnelers so I’m half-way to finishing NaNoWriMo with more than half the time to go. Plus I have a better ending now and just need to fill in the gaps in the middle.

Phew, after getting two days behind 4300 words brings me back up to date and a couple of hundred words ahead. Let’s see if I can hit 20,000 words tonight (probably not, but worth a try).

Edit: Only managed about 19,200, but that was over 5,000 words in one day so not doing too bad.

First review is up at Sift Reviews: Blood Skies by Steven Montano.

I should probably mention that initially I was accepting most stories that looked interesting, but now I have a backlog of several months I have to be far more choosy. So turning a submission down doesn’t mean that I think it sucks, just that it’s not my kind of book.

My pre-Nano interview is up at:

Blog Party for Edward M. Grant

Tunnelers is a few hundred words behind schedule, but I have the long weekend to catch up and move ahead; perhaps it’s apt that I’m writing a WWI novel on Rememberance Day. It’s an interesting experience, I’m basing it on another old unfinished screenplay and finding a ton of problems with that version as I go along; not least the fact that most of the middle is missing. I’m using Nano to rough out a first draft, then I’m going to break that down to an outline, fix that up and rewrite it.

Interesting post on the perilous clauses in agents’ contracts these days:

Why I turned down a New York/Hollywood Agent

This is one of the reasons why I stopped thinking about trade publishing and decided to just publish my own books; I would never sign a contract containing these kind of clauses that put an agent a position to collect 15% of my income forever, even if I later drop them.

A few years ago I dreamed about getting a trade publishing deal, now I dream about selling a few thousand books a month and don’t care how they’re published. I honestly don’t see how agents fit into the new world of publishing; when I worked on movies everyone wanted an agent, but they were seen as a necessary evil because few production companies would look at scripts without one. There’s no such restriction in publishing when anyone can now upload their book to retail sites and compete directly with the products of trade publishing.

Woo-hoo; looks like someone’s finally trying to take the abomination that is Gnome 3 and turn it into a usable GUI:

Linux Mint 12 Preview

I suspect my laptop is going to switch from Ubuntu to Linux Mint in the not too distant future.

Not sure why I never mentioned these before, but I thought I’d give them a plug for anyone who hasn’t found them yet:

Learn Writing with Uncle Jim, Volume 1
Learn Writing with Uncle Jim, Volume 2

Earlier in the year I spent a couple of weeks going through the thousands of posts and learned a lot in the process. They’re the main reason I started writing again a few months ago, and I wish I’d found them years ago.