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.

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OCCWF Conference 2012

I’ve been pushing myself really hard the last couple weeks and have found myself with no time for much of anything. Yesterday was more about venting and trying to process the issues I have at work, but today I want to focus on a few other things.

The Orange County Christian Writer’s Fellowship Conference went great. Really great.

Bill Myers

Bill Myers was our keynote speaker this year. At first, I didn’t know who he was, until I read his credits. And then I realized I did know who he was! He created “McGee and Me,” a Christian TV show that I used to watch as a child (http://www.mcgeeandme.com/). I was utterly thrilled to have him there. I have fond memories of the show.

But beyond that, he was utterly hysterical. His first address made it very plain he considered himself to be “a coward, a crybaby and a moron.” But he always said yes to God. So he had some amazing things happen in his life. Some amazing chances of success. The man went from wanting to be a dentist to being led into a career in film and writing. It’s an amazing story.

He challenged me quite a bit and everything he said hit me on a personal level. In his second keynote, he talked about the process of dreams God often puts us through. A great example of this is Joseph, who shot off it mouth about a dream where his entire family would bow to him, and got thrown in a well, sold into slavery then put in prison. He was given the chance for a shortcut (sleep with Pharaoh’s wife) and when he didn’t take it…he went right back into prison. Finally, at the end of it all, he was given something greater than his dreams could ever encompass: he became the savior of his people.

Dreams aren’t realized the next day, or the next month, or even the next year. Sometimes it takes a very long time of sitting in the dark, wondering if you’ll ever see the light again. But when that light comes, it will be far greater and far brighter than you ever imagined.

He also told a story about an author friend he knew who did a single page a day, 5 days a week for 5 years. He did it after coming home from a ski factory. And when he started trying to publish it, he got 13 rejection letters until some nut finally accepted his work. His name was Frank Perretti. 🙂

Consults:

I got to have consults (meetings) with Julie Brickman, a professor with Spalding University, Merrie Destefano, a science fiction/fantasy author, and Mike Duran, another science fiction and fantasy author. I got to spend lunch on the second day with Pamela Jaye Smith, a mythologist, writer and consultant.

I learned an enormous amount from these individuals. Julie Brickman looked at the manuscript for Soul of the Scribe and was impressed with a lot of the imagery, but a bit bored with the reflections and the wanderings. This is perfect, because I’ve tightened up the story quite a bit. In fact, I’m in the middle of my “slaughter edit” where I just tear apart the story and turn it into what it should be.

Merrie Destefano gave me some great references. Suggested Tor and SF&F Magazine for places to try and shop Scribe when it’s done. I also want to look into a SciFi/Fantasy story called Wool, which launched a man’s career through ebooks.Other suggestions include looking at “Publisher’s Marketplace.” And finally, as someone who loves to break gender boundaries and stereotypes, she commented there may be more stories like that out there than I know.

Mike Duran gave me some good suggestions as to Christian publishing opportunities, like WhereTheMapEnds.com and Marcher Lord Press.

Finally, Pamela Jaye Smith was wonderful to speak to at lunch. We talked about the plot idea for Scribe. I loved the look on her face when I threw out the tag line. Her eyes went big and she nodded, saying she’s interested. I pitched the idea to several people today and all of them were very interested. I’ve had comments that people have never quite heard a story like this before.

Other Parts

I became the official photographer for the event, since I was a volunteer and happened to bring my camera along with me. I had to do a lot of editing to get the pictures to come out. The Radisson Hotel had really bad lighting, at least for camera shots.

I also made a ton of great new contacts. I’m happy to have met these wonderful people, especially since I had the wonderful opportunity to run a critique group at the very end of the night. Some fantastic stories that utterly had me swept away.

And that was a good summary of the two days. I was a zombie by the end, my brain fried into nothingness. But it was a great time.

The best part is, I think it’s moving me in the right direction. It’s time to get stuff moving.

Because I intend to be shopping stories by autumn. 🙂

Have fun!

-rks