Monday, February 27, 2012

These are terms that do not exist....

Lately I've been playing a lot of Star Wars: The Old Republic.  It's scratching a lot of itches for me.  It's a solid WoW-Clone MMO with all the features you'd expect and a solid, reliable, and recognizable interface.  The story is top notch and if you play a Sith you get to have a rocking British Accent.  Unless you're undercover in which case you're supposed to sound like you're from the American Midwest.  Personally, I'd like to find that planet where you sound like you're from Boston*.

At any rate, I was looking up stuff on line related to a recent twist with my newbie operative when I came across a fascinating quote:
After a user expressed concern that Bioware had "disallowed" the use of the terms "gay" and "lesbian" on the boards in a thread titled "GLBT discrimination in forums?" a Bioware forum moderator dropped in and posted this: 
As I have stated before, these are terms that do not exist in Star Wars. 
Thread closed.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

On Pirates and DRM

When I pushed the eBook edition of FantastiCon live I was faced with a very difficult choice:  To DRM or Not to DRM.  Was it nobler to face the slings and arrows of those who so hate having file use restricted or to accept such and deny them by placing a wall about their purchase?  And this was made even more complicated given that my target audience is fairly tech savy and the kind of folk who probably would prefer to have a book they can move around from platform to platform freely.  (Note to self:  See if Amazon will let me list the book twice, once with DRM and once without)

Set that thought aside and let me point to something else, the actual inspiration for this post:

A friend linked to an Oatmeal comic related to the challenges of getting to watch Game of Thrones on the computer.  It's meant to be a lighthearted look at how many road blocks can exist to someone getting the content they want.  Unfortunately I did not see the main character as someone I should feel sorry for because he was denied his television show.

The young man in the comic was a whiney prat.

Monday, February 20, 2012

With a wave of the hand... it works

One of the challenges you face when you world build outside of reality is the challenge of "how does that work"?  Gene Roddenbery famously answered the question "How do the transporters work?" with the answer "Very well, thank you."

As I work on the next project I am trying to sort out how many alien races I want to have, how much of this universe is "Human", and of course, how they're able to transverse space quickly.  Already I've started to consult with friends who are learned in "rocket science" as to how well my efforts to explain how FTL technology is going to work and how FTL Communication will be done.

Another aspect of this world is the development of a race entirely of female robots.  This creates particular challenge in that I want to avoid the "What's it mean to be human?" characteristic that defined Data on Star Trek: TNG while at the same time not letting the race become regular women who just happen to be robotic.  As someone with some training in programming, I am also trying desperately to avoid thinking about how hard some of the specific subroutines and behaviors would be to program.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

An Honorary Gentleman

With the ePublication of FantastiCon, I was invited to write a post about the process at a blog I follow:  Mindless Diversions, a sub blog of The League of Ordinary Gentlemen.

The story of a novel

Today I joined the ranks thousands of writers and made my first full length novel available for purchase on  How did I go from a simple school teacher to a self-published writer?  The story has some interesting twists and a few lessons for the novice, though I hardly consider myself an expert on writing or self publishing.

It started with National Novel Writing Month back in 2007.  I set out to write a stalker drama playing on elements of online relationships and how little we know about the people we say we know via online channels.  That year I failed to meet my goal of 50,000 words by the end of the month.  In 2008 I tried again but with a twist:  I set the entire story at a massive fantasy and science fiction convention.  My wife and I are several year veterans of Atlanta’s Dragon Con and have become friends with many who make their hobby doing the convention circuit.  On Dec 1st, 2008 I had a manuscript in hand.
You can read the rest here on the website... 

Friday, February 17, 2012

And thus it begins...

So, the official first post of the blog.....

For a writer, or rather an aspiring writer, I find myself in the horrid position of not knowing what to say.

Actually let me begin like this:

Back when I first wrote FantastiCon, I used to say "I wrote a book".  My wife, whom I love dearly, would politely correct me.  I had a manuscript.  I had the text of a book, but I could not say I had written a book until someone could go on and buy that book, or walk into a book store and ask them to order a copy of that book.  For her, a true bibliophile, I was among millions of people who sat down, told a story and then let that story sit in some folder or some hard drive and never make it out to the general populous.

But, that's changed.

You can go on Amazon and see, yes, there's a book there for sale and it has, of all things, my name on it.  Right there on the cover image.  Rather impressive, I think.  And thanks to some fledgling word of mouth campaigning, I can even claim to have made money on this book.  Not a lot, but there is a non-zero number on the Amazon reports page under Royalties.  I am a professional writer.  Well a paid writer at any rate.

It's an odd turning point, really, to have hit a point where someone feels that there might be enough to your story that they're willing to trade money for a chance to read it.

And I'm onto my next project.  There's still a great deal to work out with the world building and one advantage of this blog is that I can use it to flesh out ideas, post teasers, and even, on occasion, invite you, dear reader, to provide some feedback.  Is it really believable to have a race of robot women?  Is it beyond even the realm of science fiction to have ships that only can fire broad-sides?  I hope the answers are, respectively, yes, and then no, as both are aspects of this next project.

As to other updates, I sent the files back to CreateSpace last night and hope to order the next proof copy of the book for delivery early next week.  If it passes muster, then in roughly a week a print edition of FantastiCon will be available.

I can't wait....