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Friday, April 27, 2012

TV Memories | A Week Off

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This week I share how I wasn't able to get the next guest blog post out due to just getting back from vacation.
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Friday, April 20, 2012

TV Memories 12 | Dan Absalonson
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This week is by me again and it's audio only. Sorry there is no blog post to go along with it if you prefer reading, but the audio will be a nice change this week as it's not scripted. Just me talking off the cuff about one of my favorite TV memories. I talk about a summer long ago when I sat as a little boy around a small TV with my parents and neighbors watching the Olympics. I also bring you up to speed on how my novel is coming along. The second draft is almost done! Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

An Update on How My Writing is Going

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My novel is a little like this Easter bunny. It's almost done, but there are still a few really good bites left to take care of. I spent a lot of time revising the outline before going back through it. Now I have cut several chapters, moved others around, deleted scenes, written new ones, and planned out a new ending. Even though I'm almost through with revising the first draft, only a few chapters left, and the climax of the novel will remain the same, I will have a couple more chapters to write once that is all done. It's been this way for a couple weeks now. I have many excuses, but more of it should be done. Our kids have been sick, all three of them. We've been to doctors appointments and the ER more times than I have fingers just in the last couple months. That said, I have had stretches of time here in there. The problem is, I'm just too dang tired to write when I get those chances. So lately I have had a new plan. For the first time in years, I'm trying to actively get at least eight hours of sleep. Before I was trying to get things done right before bed, but now when I find the time I'm too tired to be productive. This year is flying past me and I was really hoping to start podcasting and publishing this novel as an e-book soon. Last weekend I bought a brand-new microphone, and it sounds amazing. I have totally revamped my website so that it looks awesome in hopes that putting out a full novel for the first time will bring me new fans. I'm doing all the things to get ready to release this novel except finishing it. It is time to do that, time to buckle down and get the second draft polished up and ready to give to beta readers. Then I can take their feedback on how the story is working, and get it ready to podcast and publish. I cannot wait for that day and I hope it is very soon. Once that's done I have a novella that I wrote during nanowrimo. It is called Dying Wish. It's a fantasy about a kid who's dad dies after a sword fight, saving his kid from being kidnapped. On his deathbed he makes the kid promise to take his ashes back to his homeland. The city, the market that has always been their home is deemed too dangerous by the father so he wants him to go back to their homeland and be with his grandparents and cousins working on the farm. Lots of crazy stuff happens to him along the way, it's going to be a fun adventure. I don't think that one will take nearly as much reworking of the story to be ready to be published. I'm hoping that's the case with all my stories moving forward, but we'll just have to see about that. I am also currently writing a young adult adventure/mystery novella. So far it's going well, and I think it will also be ready for some editing once I finish writing the story. If I can get a rough draft out that doesn't need a bunch of big story edits from now on I will be a very happy man. I like the process of outlining and brainstorming a story, and I hope that it will be a tool that I continue to get better at using to give me books that have a complete story once I'm done writing the first draft. A story that doesn't need to be revised a whole bunch. I need to get these books out, because I have three ideas and outlines for other novels that I'm really excited about. Here's the first line of the next novel I'm going to write:

I learned the truth about zombies when I shot off one of their scalps with my shotgun and saw gears tumble out. It's not polite to shoot your neighbor, but when they shamble in with that dead look in their eyes you have been warned about on the news - you're kind of out of options.

Yeah that's right not another zombie story. Government conspiracy, robots parading as zombies, it will be fun. The other two are also outlined, but only in a very basic rough way. One is about a kid who's dad buys an old school building and turns it into apartments, and it turns out that they are hunted, or are they? The other is about a guy who discovers when he touches certain people, he gets visions of the last horrible thing they did. Some of these men have other people locked away back at home. He becomes a reluctant hero in this coming of age tale I will probably write in like a year :) With our three very young kids, and my wife racing off to work as soon as I get home, I don't have much time to write. Let me rephrase that, I do have time to write first draft material on my commute, but I'm finding that revising a first draft takes a long time. I don't have much time for sitting down with a word processor during my week. I hope that I can successfully start to get up earlier and take lunch breaks at work to do just that. The trouble is that I'm already getting up super early so that I can get home on time for my wife to go to work, and neither my sweetie pie or I are good at going to bed at a decent hour. Maybe I can get better at it, getting some writing done would be more than worth it.




UPDATE!
Last night I spent a couple hours revising and now I only have 3 chapters of original manuscript left to revise! Then I will write a couple new chapters to wrap the book up all nice and it will be ready for Beta Readers to read through it and give me feedback! I've written 4 books now, but this will be the first time I've completed a second draft on one. I'm really excited!

Friday, April 13, 2012

TV Memories 11 | Richard Green
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I Saw Men Walking on the Moon
by Richard Green aka Mainframe

On May 25, 1961 President Kennedy said these words, “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth.”

On July 20, 1969, a five year old me joined millions of others in watching those words being made reality. Not only did Apollo 11 send men to the Moon, it took television with it.

On our black and white TV, my family watched from lift off until the astronauts were safe. Walter Cronkite and the rest of the CBS reporters provided a near constant running commentary. These men who spent their early adulthood during the second World War knew that they were chronicling the better side of history.

For that matter, even this small boy knew that this was an incredible moment. I had no context for how relatively soon in human history it was that men built a machine that flew under its own power. I had no idea how many people it took to make the Apollo missions possible. But I did now that it was a world away from life in my little (and I mean little) town in rural Georgia. But I could see that world from the same box that brought my Saturday morning cartoons.

Over the years I watched the other Apollo missions. We even got a color TV somewhere around 1970. Nasa sent a dune buggy to the moon. There was Skylab, then Space Shuttles. I was a child of the Space Age. Science would continue to play an increasingly important role in our lives. I found that I enjoyed computers, so this rural boy became a man of technology.

January 28, 1986 I was in Oklahoma City at a conference on Tinker Air Force Base. I’d just been commissioned as a Second Lieutenant when I graduated from college the Spring before, and I was four months into my first active duty assignment.

At 10:38 AM Central Time, the Space Shuttle Challenger disintegrated into a cloud of smoke and debris. Someone at the conference made the announcement to us. A little while later, I found myself eating lunch where a TV was broadcasting the news. The same medium that shared the news of successes with the space program had to show us this dark day as well. We all knew that space flight was dangerous. It was obvious from every time those giant rockets launched. We hadn’t lost astronauts after lift-off before but we did that day. Francis R. Scobee, Michael J. Smith, Ellison S. Onizuka, Judith A. Resnik, Ronald E. McNair, S. Christa McAuliffe, and Gregory B. Jarvis were gone. There wasn’t another Space Shuttle launch for two and a half years.

TV was there to show the wonder and tragedy of scientific exploration; letting me see it with my own eyes and hear it with my own ears. TV would always push my reality beyond my own personal experiences, to at least as far as their cameras could take me.


Richard Green is a system administrator of mainframe and Unix systems. He has been working with computers in one way or another since September 1985 (He will let you do the math since he is reminded enough how old he is). Richard has been reading comic books for as long as he has been able to read, which is significantly longer than that. If his memory were better, he would be considered a comic book expert.

Richard has always enjoyed science, science fiction, history, historical fiction, math, and mathematical fiction. His wife, Jan, has had to put up with his geeky ways since 1997. His daughter, Rachel, has been fortunate to only have had to do so since 1999. If you go to DragonCon you can look him up, ... or avoid him; whichever is best for your personal mental health.

Richard is the podcaster behind the "Geek Out! with Mainframe" podcast at http://geekoutwithmainframe.com (It was a Parsec Finalist in 2011, due to the awesome people he had the foresight to interview). The podcast has been on hiatus, but he's been getting requests to start it back up again. He has written a few short stories over at the "Every Photo Tells" podcast and he's way overdue to write another one. During November 2011, he wrote his first novel for National Novel Writing Month. If we are all fortunate, it will not see the light of day. Finally, Richard likes self-deprecating humor, but considers himself rather poor at it.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Virgin River by Robyn Carr | Book Review

Okay, so this is the very first romance novel I have ever read. I guess I should take that back, because I have read some of the classics. I'm not sure if you can consider Wuthering Heights a romance, but I have read that one. I am almost done with Jane Eyre, and I've been working my way through Pride and Prejudice for the better part of a year. I have to say I'm actually enjoying it quite a bit, I just keep running into modern things I can't stop myself from turning to. If you look at the books I've read other than the classics you'll see that I'm mostly a fan of science fiction and fantasy. I'm way more into cool science-fiction technology, fights, and action, than romance.

There are three reasons I read this book. One, I am a writer myself and have a couple ideas for romantic stories, but other than a few classics I've never read a romance novel. I find myself never including romance as part of the stories I write. This should probably change, and why not learn from the best? I'm glad this one was my first, because it was good. As you can see I gave it four stars. My second reason for reading this book is that I have heard the advice from so many professional published author that a writer needs to read very broadly. I've read a lot of classics, some memoirs, some pop fiction, thrillers and quite a bit of science fiction and fantasy, but no romance. I mean come on, I am a dude. I have to say though that just about any movie, let alone commercial on TV, can make me cry. Yep I am a softy. But I don't like stuff that's all girly. I have to say that as I read this book most of it was pretty palatable to me. That's not to say that there were many times that I said "oh man," or "oh brother," but hey I was reading a romance novel. So the third reason that I read this book, is because I have been reading a lot of Stephen King lately. I have really been enjoying his work and he has become one of my favorite authors, but I just wanted something totally different. I'm not really a fan of horror, and I can only take the dark stuff for so long. Some of his works that have become my favorite are the ones that are not as dark. When he's on the dude can write, and I can see why he should be called the king. This book was totally different than any Stephen King story I have ever read, obviously.

I also thought that I knew the basic pattern of the romance story from watching many movies with my wife, but this one didn't go exactly as I thought it would. It was however a very predictable story, but somehow that never bothered me. It was refreshing to read a mostly happy story. Also, there was some good action. I know that I am about as far away as a "target audience" for this book can be, and maybe that helped me to put a positive spin on what I read, but I genuinely enjoyed the story and getting to know the characters, especially the little town of Virgin River. If you've never read a romance novel, but have your reasons to want to dabble into one, maybe even just to see what they're all about, give this one a shot. I think you too will be pleasantly surprised. As a small warning there were a few sex scenes in this book, I listened to it as an audiobook and simply turned the volume down hearing a couple words here and there until I could tell the scene was over. If you find that stuff offensive you might want to think twice about reading this book, or you could just skip past those scenes like I did. They were few and far between and from the little I got of them they seemed to be done tastefully. I also think that they added to the story, and the relationships between the characters. They did not seem to be put in there simply to titillate the reader. I don't think you'll find anything worse than daytime television or some of your favorite TV dramas.

Wow, it's pretty easy to write a lot when I'm simply talking into my new iPad! I love this thing. I think I'll start writing all my blog posts on here. It is so fast! Well, I think that about wraps it up for me. So I gave this novel 4/5 stars. It did not totally wow me, it is not one of my favorites, but I was very pleasantly surprised and I love the characters in the book. The secondary character was a man's man, and that probably helped me through it. If you check out this story I'm sure you'll fall in love with the characters and the town too. The chick has written like twenty in the series, so someone likes them right? This was a good book. It was refreshing to read a happy story with just enough darkness to make it interesting. The writing was not stunning, and all of the adverbs drove me nuts, but the story has heart and lovable characters.

Friday, April 6, 2012

TV Memories 10 | Arlene Radasky
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My first television memories. Wow, takes me back. I really have a hard time remembering much back that far, but I can remember the hour my brother and I had on weekend nights to watch our programs. We had a tv that has a tiny screen and it was black and white, but the images that came to the screen were fascinating, magic.

I had no idea how it worked and didn't care then, but when it came time, my brother and I would sit, cross-legged on the floor and mom would tune in Rin Tin Tin, The French Foreign Legion, Sky King (wanted to learn how to fly because of this show) or Lassie.

Mom didn't have to worry about the language or the content of these show, the violence was never more than a punch in the nose and the worst language was Gosh, mom, Lassie made me late for school!

Eventually the family shows made their way into our evenings, mom, dad, brother and I would enjoy Ed Sullivan, Groucho Marks and so many others. The earliest detective show I remember is The Naked City. "There are eight million stories in the naked city and this is one of them." That stuck with me. Now it seems that is all that is on tv anymore.

I fell in love with the westerns, Paladin, and GunSmoke. I fell into a serious long time lust for Steve MaQueen watching him in Wanted Dead or Alive. And Illya Nickovetch Kuryakin(David McCallum) in The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Oh my goodness, posters of both men covered my bedroom walls.

Today tv is still entertaining, the loss of the world around you, step into the world of the writer and actors and become one with the characters. Leave your stress behind and imagine.

I think there are too many crime fighting shows, a very few are good because of the interaction of the characters, NCIS for one, but I long for the old comedies, the variety shows, and often resort to old movies for a night of escape.

And of course, I want Star Trek to come back......

Arlene Radasky
March 12, 2012

Arlene Radasky loves history. There are so many mysteries in history out there and she would like to provide answers to some. Her first novel, The Fox, is about an ancient couple and modern archeologists. It is available free to download in several places to all readers. She loves to write poetry and short stories and has fun recording them. She has two grown daughters who between them have given her three grandsons. She lives in Southern California with her husband and cats. She often goes to the beach for inspiration. Find out more about Arlene at http://www.radasky.com/.