Among the OASIS and Shardblades

So this has been an eventful week for me.

Work things have occurred. Things that are forcing me to move forward with plans, no matter if I like it or not. One day, I will speak of these things openly. But not today. As of today, it’s still time to just say that things outside of my control have begun…and now I must stay ahead of them.

In addition, I took the time today at lunch to use the program “Aeon Timeline” to plot out the existing timeline of “Steam and Magic.” Why is this important? Because it’s been driving me crazy on the length of time it will take for the Rose to reach one point from another. And now that I have that planned and plotted, I finally got to look and realize where I needed plot points to happen and how they could fit together. I finally have a few things to write. I’ve been stuck in this forever.

At the moment, I’m still waiting for my very busy friend to get a free moment to finish the critiques on “Beyond the Waterfall.” I promised not to publish until she was done. And since she’s so busy with her own work, it might be a bit until that sees the light of day. Just be patient. It’s coming, I promise.

I had a lovely day with Tali yesterday. Just a wonderful day. In fact, we spent a vast majority of the day listening to “Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline. And that’s the main topic for today’s blog. I want to write down my thoughts on “Ready Player One” and Brandon Sanderson’s “Way of Kings.”

Oh yes, I’ll try and avoid any spoilers.

The Stormlight Archive: Book 1: The Way of Kings

I’ll start with the official synopsis, taken from Sanderson’s website.

Widely acclaimed for his work completing Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time saga, Brandon Sanderson now begins a grand cycle of his own, one every bit as ambitious and immersive.

Roshar is a world of stone and storms. Uncanny tempests of incredible power sweep across the rocky terrain so frequently that they have shaped ecology and civilization alike. Animals hide in shells, trees pull in branches, and grass retracts into the soilless ground. Cities are built only where the topography offers shelter.

It has been centuries since the fall of the ten consecrated orders known as the Knights Radiant, but their Shardblades and Shardplate remain: mystical swords and suits of armor that transform ordinary men into near-invincible warriors. Men trade kingdoms for Shardblades. Wars are fought for them, and won by them.

One such war rages on a ruined landscape called the Shattered Plains. There, Kaladin, who traded his medical apprenticeship for a spear, has been reduced to slavery. In a war that makes no sense, where ten armies fight separately against a single foe, he struggles to save his men and to fathom the leaders who consider them expendable.

Brightlord Dalinar Kholin commands one of those other armies. Like his brother, the late king, he is fascinated by an ancient text called The Way of Kings. Troubled by overpowering visions of ancient times and the Knights Radiant, he has begun to doubt his own sanity.

Across the ocean, an untried young woman named Shallan seeks to train under the eminent scholar and notorious heretic Jasnah Kholin, Dalinar’s niece. Though she genuinely loves learning, Shallan’s motives are less than pure. As she plans a daring theft, her research for Jasnah hints at secrets of the Knights Radiant and the true cause of the war.

The result of more than ten years of planning, writing, and worldbuilding, The Way of Kings is but the opening movement of the Stormlight Archive, a bold masterpiece in the making.

Speak again the ancient oaths,

Life before death.
Strength before weakness.
Journey before destination.

and return to men the Shards they once bore.

The Knights Radiant must stand again.

I should mention that I listened to this through Audible.com, which is my go to source for all Audiobooks. It was narrated by Kate Reading and Michael Kramer. Let’s start with them. I’ve listened to these two before, since they were the two who did the “Wheel of Time” series…and they drove me batty. But I started to realize my problem was so much with the narrative, but the books as well. I had been used to the narrator for the Discworld series, Stephen Briggs and Nigel Planer (Planer is just freaking AMAZING). These two readers were powerful, entertaining and just slightly crazy. However, Reading and Kramer are much more subtle. They’re a bit monotone. They don’t really get passionate in their readings. Don’t get me wrong, they’re total professionals, but it can come across as dull.

However, it’s more about the book, right? Way of Kings takes a long time to get moving. And it’s huge at 45 hours for the Audiobook version. It’s very slow going at the beginning and it’s frankly not until the end where the three main character threads intertwine. However, the sheer richness of this world is almost overwhelming. I can’t handle it all. Even after reading the entire first book, I get the feeling that I’ve only seen a corner of the world, a tiny sliver of an enormous boulder. Sanderson has world-built this place better than anything I’ve ever seen. It’s astounding.

And the characters? Amazing. Simply amazing. You really get in connection with these characters. What drives them, what they hate, what they love and what they dream. I don’t think I’ve read any of his stories where characters have been so richly defined.

The magic system is also very interesting, but instead of revealing most of it like he does in his other books, Sanderson takes his time. You get the feeling he’s only touched the surface as to what the magic system can do…and what’s really powering it. In the end, you’re left with more questions than answers.

The finale is simply EPIC. Sanderson is well known for his spectacular fight scenes and this one does not disappoint. We have a full scale WAR going on here at the end of the story. But the true shockers are the brief one-perspectrive chapters at the end. The final revelation at the end of the book? That twist will probably pop your head right off. I’m still reeling from it days afterward.

In the end, this is Sanderson writ large. While it takes a good long while to get going, it’s worth the wait. It doesn’t grab you quite as powerfully as the others, but by the time you reach the end, you’ll find yourself unable to stop. It’s a great ride. And I’m looking forward to the next book which I just might read next. You definitely need to check it out. 

 

Ready Player One

At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, READY PLAYER ONE is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut—part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.

It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.

And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune—and remarkable power—to whoever can unlock them.

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved—that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.

And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.

Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt—among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life—and love—in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

A world at stake.

A quest for the ultimate prize.

Are you ready?

Okay, I’ve had friends recommend this to me before, but I was in the middle of Way of Kings at the time and got away from audiobooks for a while. Once I finished Way of Kings, this was the next book on my list. And I think I finished the audiobook version, all 15 hours of it, in three days. In fact, I was listening to it with Tali most of the time. Every commute that I could (save for those with Caitlyn, because she could repeat some of those words…and the main characters tend to enjoy their colorful language), too.

Let me first get one thing out of the way: there are plenty of infodumps in this book. Especially when you’re listening to the Audible version of it. Sometimes they can be so long that you forget the events the characters were going through. However, I was willing to forgive it because the backstory on the world, the OASIS and the characters was so damn interesting. I kept losing myself within these miniature stories-within-a-story. It was somewhat jarring to come back out of them, but the flow was good enough that it pulled you right back into the main story. (So imagine if Lost had actually told a story well…, but I digress).

While I’m not the greatest fan of Wil Wheaton’s narration (I don’t feel he does that great with different voices or accents), this story was just amazing. I love all the nostalgia. While I’m about five years too young to enjoy all of the references, I do remember the Colossal Cave Adventure. I played Joust on the Atari (when most kids were playing with Nintendo…my parents didn’t exactly help my gaming career save for some PC games). I remember the tales of Dungeons and Dragons, though sadly I’ve never actually played a game (something I still regret to this day).

This book is a celebration of some of the most iconic pop culture that still defines our era.

But the best part to me was the relationships and the revelations. More than anything I wanted to see the answer to the “will they/won’t they.” I love seeing these people who are unabashed shut ins and social pariahs building real relationships that move past the borders of fantasy and into reality. They become real people even as they fight for a virtual reality. And I think that’s the greatest accomplishment of this book.

The OASIS currently has a present-day counterpart. Second Life. You could also argue that it also lives on in Everquest, SW:ToR, WoW and all the other MMORPGs. I know how addicting being someone else can be. I was insanely addicted to Second Life…so much so that it almost wrecked my real life in ways that are a bit too personal to discuss on a public blog. Needless to say, I made a vow to myself and my wife that I would never enter Linden Lab’s game ever again. The temptation is just too strong.

And that might be the reason this book resonates with me so very much. I’ve been in the main character’s shoes. I’ve created new personas online and metaphorically passed through the screen, becoming this other person. It happened before I was married and sadly, a few times afterwards too.

And I think that’s why I loved this book so much. Because of the ending. Because we all have villains in our lives we would love to fight using giant mechs, plasma rifles and elven swords. They might not be the world-crushing baddie, but we all have bullies and jerks around us that we wish we could challenge to single combat. And in the end, we all want to be heroes of our own lives. This book has that in spades.

Good characters, great references, fantastic action. This is a required read for anyone who grew up in the 80s and 90s…and doesn’t mind playing the occasional game. 😉 A must buy.

 

Well, this is already at 2138 words. Way longer than my last few posts put together. But I was super-passionate about these two books, especially “Ready Player One.” I admit I’m sad that I don’t get to listen to Wil’s voice anymore for the story. I’m sorta hoping we might get a sequel someday. Maybe, maybe not. No matter, it’s still a damn fine book. Both are.

I don’t have a PMV for you today. I regret to inform you that my favorite MLP fan-animation studio “Jan Animations” got hit with a Cease and Desist order a few days ago due to trademark issues. It’s a long story and there’s someone who’s already talked about it far more effectively than I can. I’m hoping Jan and Hasbro can work out some sort of deal…but I’m also glad I saved all of his amazing videos to my computer.

So tonight, I will just wish you good luck and have fun.

-rks

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2013 – Looking Back, Looking Forward – 2014

Happy New Year to all of you!

I know there are a great many people out there who take New Year’s as a chance to go out, get drunk and party…thereby preventing themselves from having any memory of the night’s events. As you may have guessed by now, I’m not that kind of person.

Instead, I’d like to take a look back…and take a look forward. I’m sure you had no idea that’s what I was going to do this time, right? No, stop looking at the title. There’s nothing there. I said stop.

*Sigh*

Let’s move on, shall we?

What I’ve Written

A Glimmer of Perspective

Since this blog is supposedly about me as a writer, that should come first, right? Well, let’s start with the biggest accomplishment: I’m finally published.

A Glimmer of Perspective” was released on Amazon Kindle on September 6, 2013. For the first 90 days or so, I sold it at $0.99 and it did fairly well. A total of five reviews, with four five-stars and one four-star. A short time later, I published it on Nook, KOBO and iBooks using the Draft2Digital platform.

I’m not saying that it was a huge success. It wasn’t really. In fact, I’m still not sure how to promote it.

In September, I sold 11 copies of the book on Amazon.
In October, I sold 2 copies.
In November, I sold 1 copy.
In December, I told 2 copies.

In all that time, I only sold a single copy through the Nook, KOBO and iBook Channels.

In truth, I have a lot to learn about the process, especially about promoting my books. But at least I can say that I’m out there. This was a huge first step for me and I don’t think I should let myself feel marginalized just because I wasn’t an immediate smash hit.

In the Sun Eagle’s Wake

This project was supposed to originally be a short story that ballooned into a small novella I managed to finish the day before National Novel Writing Month Started. Perfect timing too. Set in a previously-unseen area of Taylin (The Scribe/Dreamscape universe), it was the story of a boy with the obsession of wanting to fly like his beloved sun eagle…but never being able to find the right kind of book to help him Change into a bird. When the chance to get access to a book that might just give him that power coincides with his first date at an impromptu festival, which will he choose?

I started it on October 11, 2013 and ended on October 30, 2013 at 12:01PM. The story clocked at 28,491 words.

I’m not quite sure what to do with this story, to be honest. Maybe one day it’ll go in an Omnibus. But it’s another story with more of the rules started.

Solstice by Starlight

I talked a little bit about this story two weeks ago. I was hoping to have it done by today, but I got rather sick in the last few days and time just managed to get away from me. *Sigh* And in truth, I really am not sure what I’m doing there. It’s supposed to be about how Pauline becomes Ak’s apprentice. However, I’m having trouble with the conflict. There are two primary conflicts…but both of them get answered in “Soul of the Scribe.” I can’t answer them early, since this is supposed to happen 4 years before the events in “Scribe.” So in the end, I decided to move back to my NaNoWriMo story…

What Lies Beyond Magic and Steam

Another great writing accomplishment for this year: winning National Novel Writing Month, even with having a second baby on October 31, 2013. I’m still not quite sure how I did it, but I did it. And this one finally gets my hero cast out of Rosan City to see the various fantastical locations all across Taylin. At the moment, our heroes are under attack by strange flying contraptions, pinned down by technology they’ve never even seen before. And that was after getting blown out of the sky (literally) as an elevator shaft was destroyed around them. They’re having a rough day, to say the least.

Anyway, while I won’t be able to get to this tonight, I’m looking forward to getting to it tomorrow. I haven’t been writing in it the last few days because I’ve been as sick as a darn dog.

In the Corridors of Light and Dreams

The second of the Taylin stories, this mammoth beast was originally my National Novel Writing Month story for 2012. In the end, it became nearly 175,000 words. I’m not quite sure what to do with it, but right now, I’m still nailing down the general universe. But I think I might be reading too much Brandon Sanderson. My novels are too darn long most of the time. Anyway, I was happy to finally finish this on March 14, 2013. It needs an immense amount of work before I’ll let anyone even see it, but there’ potential there. I should also mention that I did my NaNoWriMo with this, but I actually started this story on July 12, 2012.

Beyond the Waterfall

Beyond the Waterfall was my original entry to the OC Writer’s Anthology (which is eventually coming out, I promise!). However, the story I wanted to tell refused to fit into the guidelines provided. In fact, it was my story that stretched them quite a bit. In the end, I decided to finish this story as it was and write an entirely different story in the space of a couple weeks. I always felt this was a stronger story, but at 9,000 words, it definitely wouldn’t fit under the 4,000 word limit. I also enjoyed pouring my own burgeoning issues with my interest in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic into the main character.

Waterfall Steps

My second attempt at the OC Writer’s Anthology, it still ended up around 5,000 words, but managed to pass. This one happens six months before the events in Beyond the Waterfall, both of which are loosely tied with the Taylin world. I haven’t decided if they’re “canon” or not, but that’s a decision I can make some other time. But it’s another accomplishment, especially since I did both stories while working at another Apple Store.

A Secret Project

I also did one other short story this year that you don’t know about. And I have no intention of sharing. So ha! But it’s another one I can add to my list of accomplishments.

Stormhaven Revision

This is what I worked on during summer, hoping to create a full novel out of this. I got about 1/3 of the way into the revision before my time was demanded elsewhere.

The rest of July-August was spent working on “Glimmer” and another story I can’t quite remember trying to figure out which one to publish first.  I worked endlessly on Glimmer to make it perfect.

Other Writing-Related Projects

Taylin Map: I had did a map of the entire Taylin world, including places that shouldn’t be spoken about for years in book time.

OC Writers: After getting some time away from work, I managed to start being able to attend the OC Writers Group every Thursday. This was a huge encouragement to me. The whole no-work thing also saved me in regards to National Novel Writing Month, giving me the time I needed to work on it.

-rks Blog: I got serious about the -rks blog, as you can see, doing posts almost every week for a good portion of this year.

What’s Coming

OC Inklings: I’ve decided to take the initiative and launch the OC Inklings, which will be the OC Writers official online critique group. It’s launching January 2, 2014. And so far we have about 10 members. Which is probably all we can handle at the moment. I’ll admit I don’t have any idea what I’m really doing. I’ve ran an in-person writing group before, but never an online group. It should be interesting

Finish “Magic and Steam”: Obviously, this will be my main writing project for the time being. I’m also hoping that by finishing this, I’ll get the answers I need for “Solstice by Starlight.”

Publish “Beyond the Waterfall”: This little guy is begging to be published, which is why I’m offering it up to the critique group as a guinea pig.

Submit “Glimmer” to PodCastle: PodCastle is a great fantasy podcast that I used to listen to all the time. I don’t have the time anymore, but that was a huge influence on me several years ago. In fact, some of the ideas of Scribe came from “In the House of the Seven Librarians,” my favorite short story of all time, which I found on PodCastle. I’m hoping they might be interested in Glimmer. 🙂

There are plenty of other projects running around in the back of my mind, but right now, I want to focus on what’s achievable and doable. That’s important. Very important. And all four of those can be done before February, I think (except for maybe Magic and Steam…I’m not sure how long this one is going to be).

Life’s Events

There’s more to life than just writing. And this year, life has been interesting to say the least.

We found out we were pregnant and were expecting on November 5, 2013! Of course, little Talissa didn’t wait that long and she arrived on October 31, 2013. Whoo! Caitlyn also turned 3 just a few weeks ago. Now that was an interesting event…a bit crazy, but fun nonetheless.

However, tragedy hit when Laura’s grandmother passed away and we were forced to fly all the way to Michigan during…April? That was an adventure and a half. But in the end, Laura got to show me a large part of her family and Caitlyn’s grandfather on Laura’s side finally got to meet Caitlyn, which honestly…didn’t look like it was ever going to happen. And it went fairly well.

Not only did I get my long-desired Genius promotion at my Apple Store shortly before the end of 2012, but I finally came into my own there too. I created a “Get To Know You” Project at work so everyone could actually learn about the other people on the team, which turned into a rousing success.

And of course, during the middle of April, I decided to take Caitlyn home and watch the first episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. And all of you know what that led to. A radical change in my perspective and a whole new kind of obsession.

Finally, we had the big one. The panic attacks that forced me to take time off of work and in combination with my Baby Bonding leave, I was gone from work from the middle of September and will continue to be gone until near the end of January.

I’ve read a lot of books, played a lot of games, written a lot of words.

You know, it’s common for me to look back at my life and think that I’m wasting it. But in truth, I would burn out if I really tried to write every minute of the day. If I didn’t take breaks for gaming and stuff…I would self-destruct. It would eventually kill me. It’s hard to remember sometimes. But when I write something like this…I realize that I have done a whole lot this year. Finally published, multiple stories on the way, networking with other authors, beaten games, introduced Laura to new authors and stories (Name of the Wind, anyone?) and so much more.

It’s been a crazy year.

I don’t expect my life to get any less crazy.

But God willing, maybe it’ll get a bit more focused.

And maybe you’ll be able to pick up one of my books off of a bookstore bookshelf this time next year.

After looking at all I did this year…it doesn’t seem like such a long-shot after all.

Now…what do put for New Year’s Eve PMV?

The first thing that came to mind is something powerful…something energetic…something ascendant.

So how about Ascension?

But then I realized there’s another one that’s even more beautiful…and it works so well with my writing, that I can’t help but put it in. Because there’s still one wish that hasn’t come true. Ironically, it’s the whole point of that show I’m so obsessed with.

I’m still lonely. And I still really need some true friends. And God, if I can have a real wish, I’d like some more friends this year. Real ones.

 

It’s been one hell of a year guys. And I hope you stick around for 2014. It’s going to get interesting. That I can promise you.

Until next time, good luck and have fun.

-rks

(PS Just not too much fun tonight 😉 )

 

 

Initiating Launch Sequence

It’s been an eventful week.

But it’s been eventful in a quiet sort of way.

((Huh, that’s a great start of a short story. I’ll need to remember that.))

Things have become difficult as of late at work. Because of various reasons, I won’t go into specifics. But someone I respect and trust has actually resigned and for the same reasons I’ve been having trouble. I feel validated by this for some reason. I guess I’ve always wondered if it’s actually been my own attitude and negative thoughts…if they’ve been coloring my perspective. Looks like the answer is no.

While this is the source of my struggles at the moment, I don’t think it’s a good idea to speak about them at length. I’ve made that mistake in the past and I do not intend to make it again.

However, I currently believe that it may be a ploy to distract me from my newfound goals.

And what goals are these, praytell?

  1. I will be published by the end of the month.
  2. I will get an Agent within two months.
  3. I will have a synopsis and query letter for Soul of the Scribe by the end of the month.

Madness you say?

Probably. Never stopped me before.

I’m going to publish on Kindle first of all. I plan to publish one of my short stories. It will either be “A Glimmer of Perspective” or “Beyond the Waterfall.” I just need to revise them up to snuff before I decide which one. Heck, I might do both. Who knows?

I’m sick of waiting. I’m sick of not doing anything. So I’m setting serious goals. I’m going to make this happen.

In the same vein, I’m happy to announce that Soul of the Scribe is DONE. I finished my final readthrough of the story last week and I finished Laura’s editing notes a day later. That’s when this stuff begun. I now have constant reminders and a checklist of my goals for writing.

The best part of this is the simple fact that I finally have a real goal. Since I got my promotion at work, I’ve felt listless and without direction. I’m one of those people who always need something to strive for. Now, I have a target. And when I get set on something, nothing can stand in my way. I’m kinda stubborn like that.

I’m actually taking the time from working on “Waterfall” to do this. Lately, I’ve been crushing my blog in at the last moment on Sunday night during work.

So what does this mean for the future?

It means I’m going to make this happen.

One way or another, I’m going to get published.

I will FINALLY have my work out there.

And hopefully, some enormous publisher will fall in love with my writing, offer me half a million dollars in advance, and maybe get to do what I love full time.

What?

Hey, I never said I dreamt small.

Let’s see…how about something cheerful and smiley for you folks tonight?

 

Saddle up folks. It’s going to be a wild ride.

Good luck and have fun!

-rks

Agents, Traditional, ePub?

So that’s my big question right now.

I’ve completed my readthrough of Soul of the Scribe. I’m very happy with the way it ended. There’s still some room for improvements, but I’m going to do one final run through of Laura’s notes before I put into practice the old adage, “Art is never finished, only abandoned.” Otherwise, this story will never see the light of the day.

Now the question is…what do I do with it?

Agent: I love the idea of an agent. While it does cut into possible profits of a book, it frees me from the work of having to shop it around, stress, worry and generally freak out. I don’t have to hunt down publishers or send samples. That’s handled by the agent. And if you’re wondering, eventually, I would like to make some money off of this, but what I really want right now is a damn publishing credit. The goal isn’t money…it’s about seeing my name on the shelf of a bookstore. You might say it’s a small and narrow-sighted goal…but at the beginning, that’s all I want.

Traditional: I’ve always liked traditional more than epublishing. The problem? Novellas (which is what Soul of the Scribe is at about 42K words) are rarely published in traditional media. All of my research points to that. And I’m so overwhelmed by the idea of WHERE to publish I don’t even know where to start. I did some networking contacts when I did OCCWF last year and some advice on it, but I’ve been dragging my feet. I’m really scared about that…but it might be one of those things I just need to buckle down and fight through.

ePublishing: Novellas work very well for this market. It’s an easy read and it’s very simple to get published. I’m sure I could get Soul of the Scribe up on Kindle within a week if I wanted to. I’ve done a bunch of the research already. The problem with that is once something goes out eBook, it’s very difficult to get a traditional reprint done of it. At least, that’s what I understand. What I’d really like to do is to get a few short stories of mine together for a short anthology and put that on Kindle as an experiment. I have a few random stories I could do that wish, but I need to buckle down and edit those into a better state. I also think a few more random short stories would be nice, but lately my ideas have not been short stories. My ideas tend to always go longer than I anticipate. 😛

So that’s what’s really bothering me lately. I don’t know which way to go. The worst part? Everybody around me has a different opinion! EVERYBODY! And they all contradict. I’m leaning toward my wife’s idea…because I’ve always trusted my wife’s judgement over my own. Her idea was Traditional with an optional Agent. I like that idea. A lot.

What else is going on? Hmmm…I don’t have a lot else to share at the moment. Except for something my wife said to me.

“We balance each other out. You keep me from being ruled by reality and I keep you from being ruled by fiction.”

Good stuff, eh?

Well, to end today’s post, I’m going to show you something I found the other day that I really like. I greatly enjoy positive and uplifting songs. Music has always moved me very well, even though I’ve not a musician. I’ve always felt that music is actually one of the most important pieces of any visual medium, be it theater, movies, TV, whatever. My mind always soars.

But getting back to the point. Like I posted about Shooting Star last week, today is about Katy Perry’s “Firework.” I’ll be honest, I really like this song, but the music video was a little…odd. I get what was going on…but I found something better.

 

That’s it for me this week. Thanks for reading. 🙂

Good luck and have fun!

-rks

Beyond the Waterfall Complete!

Waterfall

Good news everyone! I am happy to announce that “Beyond the Waterfall” is complete. The only problem? The story is almost 8,000 words…which it’s goal was 3,000 and the max is 4,250.

What?! It wasn’t done yet!!! Don’t look at me like that!

I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do. I don’t think I can trim it down by over 3,500 words. I’d have to cut the entire story in half. But I don’t know if I can do an entirely new story. I write the story that comes to me, not necessarily any particular length.

But I’m letting it sit for a few days before I read it for the first time. That way I can adjust things with a clearer mind. *Sigh*

I will say that the Scrivener project was a success. And I’m considering using it full time. I still have a few concerns here and there about it, but I think they’re more personal preferences than actual issues.

Kasumi

Now a bit of bad news. I’ve been fighting a cracked radiator on Kasumi (my maroon 1999 Honda Accord) for a couple weeks now. I’ve tried to use the JB Weld on it with the help of a friend, but it didn’t work. Even tried it again with a super-thick application. No dice. So my dad was kind enough to loan me his 2013 Honda Accord for a couple days while mine was getting fixed. I’m happy to say that’s done, but it was $450 with a wheel alignment as well (which sorely needed to be done). Ouchies. I hate car stuff. 😛

Other Things

I can’t really think of anything else super important right now. I’m not sure what my next writing project will be. I should go back and try and finish Stormhaven. I might take a day or two to convert it over to Scrivener. Since it could eventually become a series, it would probably be a good idea.

Caitlyn is doing well. We’ve had a lot of fun the last few days since I got an extra day off from work. I took her for a short hike down a trail in Foothill Ranch. Only 15-20 minutes down. But she enjoyed it. Trying to get her out and doing things more.

Maybe it’s just my brain being weird, but I think that’s it for now.

Anyway, good luck and have fun!

-rks

A Quick Hello

I’m a bit pressed for time, but since I couldn’t make my Sunday deadline, I wanted to still do one this week.

I had a really good time at the other Apple Store. The commute was great and the people were just fantastic. I felt totally welcomed and was very happy with the entire thing. I was sad to leave, but it’s not permanent. Not yet anyway. I’m hoping I can work something out, but I’m going to continue doing my best.

My experiment by doing all of the coming short story in Scrivener is going well. I’m finally starting to adapt to the program. I like the Compose mode where I have nothing on the screen but the notes I want and the main document. It’s working well for me.

I did have to ask for a word count extension though. I just can’t seem to write anything short! The goal was about 3,000 words, but I’m already at 2,500 and I’m about halfway through (I think). But I think I can end it by 4,000. As long as I don’t get distracted within the story. But so far, I’m pretty happy with it.

And that’s about it! Let’s see…I’m excited about the new 5.3 Patch landing today in WoW. Really excited about that. And I was looking into the Xbox One a bit. Disappointed about the lack of backwards compatibility, but I think there’s a lot of potential there. I won’t be a day-one adopter, but I rarely am for consoles.

The only other thing is that I’ve started listening to Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson. Fantastic so far, though I’m not the biggest fan of Michael Kramer’s audiobook voice. But he’s making it sound more raspy than he used for the Wheel of Time series and he doesn’t sound so blasted bored, so that’s helping.

Okay, time’s up!

Good luck and have fun!

-rks

New Toys, Delayed Storms…and Ponies

New Toys and New Ponies

First, the fun things! I got a new iPad Mini. I’ve christened it da Vinci. I name all my computers and devices after starships, and this one is named for the Starfleet Corps of Engineers Saber-class ship from the Star Trek: SCE eBook series. What? I’m a nerd.*

I’m enjoying it. I actually had some fun formatting my various novels and short stories to work properly in the iBook format…it was frustrating fun, but still fun. But it’s primary purpose was to help entertain Caitlyn while on the flight from Orange County to Flint, Michigan…mostly by watching My Little Pony.

And Caitlyn now utterly adores My Little Pony (her favorite is Applejack, which she happily shouts every time she comes on screen). And I was totally sucked in as well. Laura followed about a week later. Yeah, we’re all addicted to the show. It’s freaking hysterical and more heartwarming than I expected.

Yeah, I’m a fan of My Little Pony now. And I’m okay with it.

The Trip

Laura’s wanted to get me out to see her family farm in Michigan for as long as I’ve know her, but I know this wasn’t the way she wanted to get me out there. The flight went pretty well and Caitlyn enjoyed them both. She didn’t really cause any problems on the plane.

As for the memorial service for Laura’s grandmother on her father’s side…I think it went well. I say I think because I was out in the back of a Honda Odyssey watching My Little Pony in the iPad Mini with Caitlyn. Because there was no way Caitlyn would sit still and be quiet for a memorial service. Laura said it helped and I hope it did. Most of what I did on the trip was to watch Caitlyn and try to give Laura a chance to see family she hasn’t seen in years and years.

But the really cool thing? Caitlyn got to meet her grandfather on Laura’s side…and I did too. It’s a strained relationship and they haven’t seen each other in years. But I think Caitlyn’s cuteness somehow bridged a gap. She’s got some sort of magic power like that. Or maybe it’s just the way she goes utterly nuts with whacking balloons around. Who knows?

Stormhaven

Finally, since this is supposed to be a writing blog and all that, I’m sad to report that with my sudden trip to Michigan, I had to admit defeat for the first time ever in a NaNoWriMo. I’ll admit my heart wasn’t really into this rewrite of Stormhaven from the get go. I’m not giving up, but I cannot finish it by the end of the month. Still, my month to date will be 15000 words, which isn’t terrible at all. So I’m going to take some solace in that. I’ve also realized that I need to do some serious worldbuilding in this universe. It’s a bit too close to plenty of other urban fantasy works. And it irks me. I want something a little more original. Anyway, I’ll keep working on it.

But next? The big next project? I’m getting Soul of the Scribe ready for publication. Probably epublishing I’m not sure if I should market it as one full novella, or a series of small short stories instead. Something to think about.

That’s about it from here. Sorry for the extended absence. I just can’t seem to get around to this if I don’t do it Sunday night. But I think I’m back on track for a while now.

good luck and have fun!

-rks

*If you’re curious…here’s the names.

Normandy: My 15″ MacBook Pro. Named after the SS Normandy from Mass Effect.
Phoenix: iPhone 5. Named for my Lego TSA/Starfleet Temporal Fighter I built when I was a kid (and a dozen other starships).
Odyssey: New 27″ iMac. Named for the ESS Odyssey from my Orion Project, the command ship of Admiral Robert Clayton.
Excalibur: Laura’s 21.5″ iMac. Named after the Excalibur from Babylon 5: Crusade and the USS Excalibur from the Star Trek: New Frontier book series by Peter David.
White Star: Mac Mini, now serving as my media hub on my TV. Named after the White Star from Babylon 5.
Enterprise: PowerBook G4, my first Mac. And if I have to tell you where that name is from, why are you even reading anything I write?
Cosmos: My former custom gaming PC tower. Named after a starship of my own design, the USS Cosmos (a Lego model of which still sits on my desk) and the first interstellar ship from the Orion Project.