Listen to my Short Story "The Forest Trail"

Friday, August 31, 2012

Episode 7 of the Pen Fights Gamepad podcast - first ever interview!

Download the .mp3

Donald Conrad of and Dan Absalonson of talk about video games, writing, being husbands with awesome wifes and fathers of many young children, what life is like as dads and lots of other stuff. Topics covered in this show:

We have our first guest on the show! David of games!

Introduce David of
Glowpuff games interview.

What we've been up to

Talk about microphones of last two episodes and laptop dying.

Did Not Finish Updates

Did Not Finish question from Dan
Dan asks if there was a game Donald wasn√Ęt looking forward to playing for Did Not Finish which surprised him and was actually pretty good. Updates
The Truth About Zombies a reading of chapter 1

Start this video at 1:38

Samsung loses in court
Thoughts on how this will affect the phone market.

We're Alive audio drama fiction podcast

Rotten Tomatoes on Lord of the Rings Movies

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Free eBook from Starbucks Pick of the Week

On my way to work today I stopped at one of my local Starbucks stores and picked up a grande drip coffee in a venti cup, so I can add tons of cream and drink it right away without burning myself, and as I was pouring the cream I noticed a stack of little cards. At first I thought, interesting they're promoting a book. Then when I picked it up and took a closer look I saw that there was a download code on the back to get the book for free in the iBooks store. You better believe I grabbed it and downloaded it this morning! I looked into it a bit and I was lucky to get the one I did because it's the first in a series which looks to be fantasy. Other books they've done in their Pick of the Week series have been non fiction or not genre fiction, so it looks like I lucked out by getting a book I'll actually read. They don't just do books either, songs, apps, and TV episodes. So next time you stop in at Starbucks look for a little card to get some free content. Hopefully you get something you'll enjoy consuming, other than the coffee, like I did.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Lessons of the Gun by Scott Roche
Read the First Half Free!

My friend Scott Roche is always trying new things. That's why he's so cool, okay there are many other reasons, but it is one thing I admire about him as a writer. For example his 52 Weeks of Indie, where he is giving away one indie published book a week for 52 weeks. What a cool way to raise awareness for awesome indie books! Now let me tell you about his latest story "The Lessons of the Gun." 
It’s an alternative history western that blends gun fights with philosophy. What if marshals and rangers were part of a belief system that treated the Colt .45 like samurai treated their katana?
He goes on to describe the story a bit more, but that's all I need to read. I'm in! That sounds awesome! So not only is his story something new, but he's trying something new in regards to publishing it. He's giving away the first half of the story for free, then offering the last half for a super low price on his website. You can also choose to buy the complete story as an eBook when it hits the digital shelves, but this way you can read much more than a sample would provide you and see if it's something you want to invest a few coins in to read the rest. Pretty cool idea. Here is how you get it:
I’m making a PDF of part one available to you for free. If you decide it’s worth it hit the PayPal button and when the finished e-book comes out you’ll get it for free. Like it, but not enough to pay right now? The e-book will be coming out soon, but given the length I envision I will probably be charging at least another buck or so.  
Link to the free first half: Get it here!
Here is Scott's blog post on this subject. Thanks for stopping by and enjoy Scott's cool story!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Pen Fights Gamepad podcast | Episode 6

We saw Batman The Dark Knight Rises, and we talk a lot about that and many other things in this episode. At the end I read a passage from my work in progress Sci-Fi book where it wasn't clear if a character died or not. We riff on it including my co-host making the sound effects of the gun battle. We laugh A LOT. It was really fun and I'm pretty sure if you listen that you'll be laughing pretty hard too.

Download the .mp3

Show Notes:

Donald Conrad of and Dan Absalonson of talk about video games, writing, being husbands with awesome wifes and fathers of many young children, what life is like as dads and lots of other stuff. Topics covered in this show:

Batman The Dark Knight Rises

The Man of Steel trailer
Listen to the guys watch the trailer and comment then discuss

Talk about the darker new direction that is hinted at.
is this the “Nolaning” of the Superman franchise?
Are they trying to make Superman fit into the grittier Batman univers?
Will JLA be better as a darker more serious film?

Things We Need To Watch

1. Dan finished the comic The Dark Knight Returns
Making an Animated version of The Dark Knight Returns
Batman The Animated Series

2. Dan saw Captain America

3:  Donald is enjoying a TV show in Netflix. World may have stopped turnning for a moment.

Video Game Music
Glowpuff Game with Donald in it
Live play the Beta build of Carnival Carnage (because I have it!)

Dan’s book update:

DNF update
Finished Duke Nukem Forever - I have some thoughts
Expendables 2 game - I got it for free in a strange way
Patapon 2 - Best game ever?

Dan was on The Roundtable Podcast

Dan gives a short reading from his Sci-Fi novel of the scene where Quickstar leaves his Captain dead or alive.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Reading of My New Zombie Novel! Chapter 1

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This is my reading of chapter 1 of a work in progress novel I had the privilege to work shop with the guys at The Roundtable Podcast, and guest author Dan Wells. Sound effects used from, music used by Kevin MacLeod. Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

I Was on The Roundtable Podcast!

There's a new writing podcast in town called The Roundtable Podcast, and it has become one of my favorites. Know what the best part is? I had the privileged of being on the show as a guest writer! The two hosts Dave Robison and Brion Humphrey invite a guest writer on the show, and they along with an author guest host listen to the guest writer's story, and then work shop it. They asked me who I would want as the guest host author for the episode I would be on, and I told them to try and get Dan wells. Dan Wells, author of the John Cleaver trilogy published by Tor, Partials a apocalyptic YA published by Harper Collins, The Hollow City a dystopian story about a paranoid schizophrenic published by Tor, and other stories.

Not only was it an honor and a blast to be on the show, it was very valuable for me as well. I believe the story we work shopped, working title The Truth About Zombies, will be the best book I have written yet, and I think the reason is because it was work shopped. I have found in finally giving a full novel to a bunch of beta readers that A LOT of problems with the story slipped past me. Many of these are problems I could have avoided if I would have work shopped the story. If you're a writer there is some great stuff in the episode, and you'll get to hear my next novel being formed between me and the three other awesome dudes. Check it out! I'll be putting it in my podcast fiction feed, but you should click on the link at the top of this post "being on the show" to check out their site so you can leave comments there once you're done listening. One last thing - I have already written the first chapter and Dave, a host of The Roundtable Podcast, was kind enough to record an awesome introduction for my reading of it. Look for my reading of chapter one of my next novel The Truth About Zombies to hit my podcast feed soon as well. Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast by Laura Vanderkam | Book Review

This book was just what I needed when I needed it. Isn't it great when that happens? I bought it today on audible for under $3 - it's very short. I already listened to it one and a half times. It addresses something I've been thinking about a lot and never successfully doing anything about for a long time. I've been talking for a while about going to bed earlier so I can wake up earlier and have time to run and work on my creative projects like writing. This book gave me a road map to do it. 

The author Laura Vanderkam tells you to lay out how you spend your time. She even has an excel spreadsheet you can download for free from her website to fill out to do this. I did, and I saw how I was spending my time in beautiful excel glory. Seeing it like that was very interesting. Laura Vanderkam encourages you to study your time logs and challenge your assumptions about how you think the best time to spend your time is. I was able to rearrange my schedule a bit to have time for things I'm always wishing I was getting done. I looked at what a typical weekday was for me, and then I built my perfect day in a new column. 

Here's what I came up with:
5:00AM - 5:30AM Go for a run
5:30AM - 6:00AM Get ready for the day
6:00AM - 7:00AM Commute and write via recording into phone
7:00AM - 7:30AM Transcribe audio of writing / read paper books & eBooks
7:30AM - 3:30PM Work
3:30PM - 4:30PM Commute and read via audio books
10:00PM - Asleep so I can get up at 5 & achieve some goals!

You know I love reading. If I have a choice I will always choose eBooks over paper books, but I still have tons of paper books I've picked up over the years that I want to read. As for eBooks, they're just so much more convenient. Yes I love even the smell of paper books, but eBooks are always in my pocket on my iPod touch in my Kindle or iBooks app. Right now almost all of my reading is done via audio books, but I still have a ton of eBooks and paper books I have purchased that I look forward to reading. Even though I have a massive stack of paper books I've picked up over the years, I've also managed to buy a ton of eBooks too! I don't have a problem finding time to get audio book consumption going on, I have almost two hours of commute time everyday. Reading text however, that's another story. Now I'm going to make the time.

I won't be able to start this until the Olympics. Track & Field were a huge part of my life in high school, and my wife has been a gymnast, gymnastics coach, and judge - so you can see why we stay up till midnight watching the competition. We're having a blast watching, but soon I will be a much more productive person, and I'll finally be running consistently. Hey, maybe I'll finally enter a race! I miss racing and I would love to start doing a ton of 5Ks. That would be so much fun. I recently bought some really nice running shoes. I need to put the miles in with them. This book was a nice short read. It said what it needed to and let you get on to the next book. For me, however, I'm reading it again before I move onto the next book. 

The next book I'm going to tackle is The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett. I bought the eBook a while ago. I just remembered I need to finish Dan Well's brilliant third and final novel in his John Cleaver trilogy called I Don't Want To Kill You. But back to the Warded Man - I've heard so many great things about it. I actually found out about it by searching for articles about people writing fiction on their Blackberry smartphones. I get a lot of writing done on my Blackberry and wondered if I was the only one. It's one of my main writing tools, especially for editing. It came with an app already installed called Word To Go, and it is fantastic. I use it all the time. It is so great to have a full functioning word processor in my pocket at all times. It's one thing to write emails to yourself on the phone to format later. It's another to see your text flow out as you're writing your story already formatted for ebook publication.

In other news, my Acer laptop died. We needed a new one and decided to go with a Mac. I picked a Macbook Pro 13" over the Macbook Air for all of the ports it has on the side and because it's kind of a desktop replacement for us. It will almost always be in the bedroom or the living room. So far I'm really  missing some of the things I can do much faster on a PC, but I really like it. It is a very nice laptop. The design is streamlined and handsome. The trackpad is phenominal. This laptop will be great for storing our HD video from our iPad and all of our pictures. I'm still going to set up a couple older PCs as one better machine for gaming and 3D modeling, but who knows when I'll get to that. Well, that's all I've got for now. Thanks for stopping by!